Kandy: Hitting another ton in the three-match series, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has put India to dominate hosts Sri Lanka on the opening day of the third and final cricket Test against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium here on Saturday.
It was Gabbar’s sixth ton which came in just 107 balls with 15 fours.
Thanks to KL Rahul who kept the momentum going scoring runs at a high strike rate. He however, thrown his wicket once again at 84. He smashed eight fours in his classy knock.
The 188-run partnership between Dhawan and Rahul is India’s highest opening stand versus Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, the visitors were off to a flying start, rushing to their 50 in just 55 balls as Dhawan completed his fourth half century of the series in just 45 balls.
Eyeing their maiden whitewash of the hosts, the Indian openers looked unperturbed facing a fresh Lankan bowling attack with chinaman Lakshan Sandakan and seamers Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando in the team, which looked pedestrian throughout the opening session.
The Lankans had themselves to blame for letting a couple of opportunities slip when an edge from Dhawan went through second and third slip and then Lahiru Kumara misjudged a skier from Rahul.
Leading the spin attack in Rangana Herath’s absence, off-spinner Dilruwan Perera failed to impress as Dhawan danced down the track in only his second over to loft him over mid-off and then fetched another boundary with a pull.
The hosts did not use Malinda Pushpakumara’s left-arm orthodox before lunch, but tried Lakshan Sandakan’s left-arm wristspin for a couple of overs. He found a bit of drift early on, but also sent down a full-toss that Dhawan swept to the square-leg boundary.
With India also picking chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in place of the suspended Ravindra Jadeja, this was the first Test match since January 2004 — when West Indies’ Dave Mohammed and South Africa’s Paul Adams featured in Cape Town — to include two specialist chinaman bowlers.