First Test: India Take Upper Hand At Tea 

India produced a strong bowling performance to take the upper hand at tea on the third day of the opening Test at the Galle International Stadium here on Friday. - Sakshi Post

Galle: India produced a strong bowling performance to take the upper hand at tea on the third day of the opening Test at the Galle International Stadium here on Friday.

Sri Lanka were dismissed for 291 runs in their first innings shortly after lunch and the Indians proceeded to score 56/2 in their second innings before rain forced the players off the field a little more than an hour into the post-lunch session. The visitors, who were all out for 600 runs in their first innings, have a lead of 365.

Opener Abhinav Mukund was batting on 24 while India skipper Virat Kohli was yet to open his account when the rain started. Kohli had decided against enforcing the follow-on although the Lankans were trailing by 309 runs when their first innings came to an end. The Indians, however, were off to a rocky start in their second essay with Shikhar Dhawan — star of the Indian first innings — virtually gifting his wicket to Dilruwan Perera by offering an easy catch to backward point.

Mukund and Cheteshwar Pujara then added 37 runs between them before Lankan pacer Lahiru Kumara dismissed the latter thanks to a nice diving effort by Kusal Mendis at leg gully. It started to pour even as Pujara was climbing up the stairs to the pavilion, forcing the groundsmen to rush in with the covers.

Earlier, the Lankans resumed at 289/8 after the lunch break and the Indians needed only 1.3 overs to dismiss the hosts. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja did the honours, bowling Lahiru in the second over after lunch with a delivery that pitched slightly outside the off-stump before moving in sharply. That brought an end to the Lankan innings since they have only 10 players available with Asela Gunaratne ruled out on the opening day due to a thumb injury. Jadeja was the most successful among the Indian bowlers with figures of 3/67. Pacer Mohammed Shami returned figures of 2/45 while Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya bagged a wicket each.

Dilruwan Perera was the top scorer for the hosts. He remained unbeaten on a gritty 92, hitting 10 boundaries and four sixes off the 132 deliveries he faced. Perera and Angelo Mathews started the day on a steady note for Sri Lanka, handling the bowling of Umesh, Jadeja and Ashwin quite comfortably. The duo batted out the first hour with ease, putting together a partnership of 72 runs. Jadeja, however, got the breakthrough with the first over of his second spell when Mathews mistimed his drive while trying to smash the ball over the in-field cordon.

It was a poor shot selection from Mathews in the given situation. The right-hander produced an excellent knock of 83 runs, smashing 11 boundaries and a six during his 130-ball stay in the middle. Perera, however, continued to fight on even though wickets kept falling at regular intervals at the other end. Brief scores: India: 600 & 56/2 (Abhinav Mukund 24 batting; Nuwan Pradeep 1/24, Lahiru Kumara 1/30) vs Sri Lanka (first innings): 291 (Dilruwan Perera 92, Angelo Mathews 83, Upul Tharanga 64; Mohammed Shami 2/45, Ravindra Jadeja 3/67). —(IANS)

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