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Shikhar Dhawan guides India to 329/6 on Day 1

Shikhar Dhawan guides India to 329/6 on Day 1

In fact, this was India's first century-plus stand away from home since June 2015.

Brief score: India 329/6 at stumps- Shikhar Dhawan (119), KL Rahul (85); Malinda Pushpakumara (3/40), Lakshan Sandakan (2/84).

The opening session of the Test belonged to the Indian openers as they milked the bowling attack to put on 188 runs for the opening wicket, bettering the record of 171-run stand between Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Singh Sidhu (1993). The devil is in the detail herein. In Kandy, when Dhawan reached his hundred on Day One of the third Test, the celebration was a different one: both hands making the V sign, held aloft above his head. We made a sign, it had nothing to do with the second century (of the series) or anything.

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You want to take a breather here and wonder. It is a wicket where it is not spinning but it doesn't have bounce, so it's not easy to score runs out there.

"But you don't know what's going to cause you one or two or three points".

The underlying question is about the state of the pitch. At stumps, India were positioned 329 for six. Is it the fear of losing? Dhawan was particularly dominant, consistently maintaining a strike rate of more than a run per ball. This was his third wicket of the innings. The same can be said of T20 cricket as well - during the IPL season, nearly every alternate game feels like you have seen it before. Cheteshwar Pujara led from the front in last two Test matches alongside Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund who are determined in the opening job. For, this format needs more attention than either ODIs or T20s.

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Dhawan struck his sixth century in Test cricket. Lakshan Sandakan replaced Rangana Herath, while Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando replaced Dhananjaya de Silva and Nuwan Pradeep. As it happened, the two openers helped out in this bid. You should not be dismissed like a soldier.

Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha (13 batting), who survived a DRS appeal for caught behind, then brought up India's 300 in the 81st over even as the visitors were in dire need of a partnership to make their morning advantage count. He may have played just one Test match, but the chinaman had proved his worth not just in the longer format of the game, but in ODI cricket too.

Kohli and Rahane were then tasked with stabilizing the innings, which they did, ensuring no more wickets were lost as the team headed into Tea. And this is how he got out as well - trying to reach out and edging behind.

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Pushpakumara bowled Ajinkya Rahane (17) and Sandakan claimed the scalp of Kohli, who was taken by Karunaratne at slip eight short of a half-century, in a strong Sri Lanka fightback.


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