Shami strikes twice to leave Sri Lanka at 61/4

Shami strikes twice to leave Sri Lanka at 61/4

Shami strikes twice to leave Sri Lanka at 61/4

Opener KL Rahul became the first Indian batsman to score seven back to back half-centuries in Tests on Day 1 of the third and final Test between India vs Sri Lanka.

India won the toss and opted to bat first once again.

The duo scored 134 runs in the opening session and threatened to take Sri Lankan bowlers to the cleaners before Pushpakumara removed Rahul in his first over in the second session.

When Dhawan (119, 123b, 17x4) and Rahul (85, 135b, 8x4), involved in a 188-run partnership, were going strong, India looked capable of batting Sri Lanka out of the Test match for the third consecutive game, such was the pair's dominance.

India reached the close of play on 329 for six, after losing no wickets in the first session, with Wriddhiman Saha unbeaten on 13 and Hardik Pandya not out on one at stumps.

For Sri Lanka, Lakshan Sandakan, Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando have all been roped in place of injured Rangana Herath, Nuwan Pradeep and Dhananjaya de Silva. In doing so they took India past 400 in the 110th over, something that seemed unlikely at stumps on day one.

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The local currency was trading at 1,138.95 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.75 won from the previous session's close. The S&P 500 dropped 1.4% to 2438.21, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 204.69 points, or 0.9%, to 21,844.01.

Angelo Mathews had no time to react when Rahul edged a cut past him at slip off Sandakan, but he missed out on a century after dancing down the track to strike Pushpakumara to Karunaratne at mid-on.

India did not practice on Friday, but Kohli said they are confident of taking the field on Saturday and are in a "good zone".

Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal brilliantly caught Dhawan diving to his left at square-leg when the batsman swept Pushpakumara.

For Rahul, it was his seventh successive fifty in Test cricket overtaking Gundapppa Viswanath and Rahul Dravid (both with six half-centuries each). This young team has been chasing leather this whole series - India scored 600, 240/3 and 622/9 in three innings in Galle and SSC. Skipper Virat Kohli (42, 84b, 3×4) never appeared his usual confident self as he tried to fight his way out of trouble. "He had proved himself during the Dharamsala Test and thus has a good chance of playing tomorrow", Kohli said in the pre-match press conference.

On an easy surface for batting, the Indian openers picked up boundaries at will and also made Sri Lanka pay for their profligacy.

Two overs later, Dhawan completed a scintillating century - his second in the series but Pushpakumara and Lakshan Sandakan (2-84) struck in quick succession to remove Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara (8) early.

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