SLvsInd: Rahane adds flavour to 'Pujara Day', India 344/3 at stumps
Colombo: One must agree to the fact that it was 'Pujara Day'. Cheteshwar Pujara, in his 'Very Very Special' Test, notched up 14th ton, putting India upfront with 344/3 at stumps against Sri Lanka in the second rubber of the three-match Test series at the Sinhalese Sports Club here on Thursday.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, completely untroubled, added more spices to the dish with his 9th ton, sixth outside India. Fluent Rahane has struck 12 fours so far in his 168-ball 103-run knock.
Talismanic Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara may have termed the 50th Test special for him, but it has turned into a ‘Very Very Special’ for him as he has showcased a clinical stuff in his record-Test.
He also becomes the 7th Indian batsman to score a Test hundred in his 50th Test, 36th overall. Other Indian players who scored 100s in their 50th Test are- P Umrigar, G Vishwanath, S Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, VVS Laxman and Virat Kohli. This is his 3rd ton in a row against Sri Lanka.
Pujara is playing his natural game, hitting 10 fours and one six in his 128-run knock.
Lastly, when Pujara appeared here, he scored 145 runs in the India dominated game.
Apart from 50th Test milestone, Pujara, often called Rahul Dravid’s clone, has also completed 4000 runs in red ball Cricket. Sealing another record to his name, Pujara has become the second fastest Indian to reach 4000-run mark in Tests.
Riding on the fanciful knocks of Pujara and Rahane, India showcased a terrific performance, despite losing three crucial wickets.
Opting to bat, India started off on high run-rate. Dhawan and fellow opener Lokesh Rahul handled the Lankan bowlers quite comfortably and saw India off to a superb start.
In-form opener Shikhar Dhawan was the only wocket to fall in the morning session. Dhawan made a quick 35 runs off 37 balls before being trapped leg before by off-spinner Dilruwan Perera.
Dhawan was a bit tentative in the opening over and enjoyed a reprieve when Lankan pacer Nuwan Pradeep managed to find his outside edge.
The ball however, fell just wide of the slip cordon and went for the first boundary of the match.
The Delhi left-hander edged another delivery, this time off Rangana Herath in the second over, the ball falling short off the slip cordon once again.
But he soon recovered his composure and made an excellent comeback by charging out of his crease to smash the fifth ball of the over into the stands.
The Indian openers continued to bat comfortably with the run rate consistently hovering around the five per over mark.
Just like in the first Test, the Lankan bowling attack did not seem too formidable although the pitch had a slight bit of bounce.
Dhawan who seemed set for a big score, fell off the first of the 11th over when he missed an attempted sweep and the ball straightened enough to hit him on the pads.
The umpire had initially ruled not out but the Lankans decided to call for the review and were rewarded when the third umpire overturned the decision.
Rahul, who was playing brilliantly at 57, got run-out. He hit seven fours in the 82-ball knock.
Captain Virat Kohli also fell cheaply to Herath. He made 13 with two fours.