SPIN­NERS SIZZLE

In­dia on back­foot af­ter Dhawan ton

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PALLEKELE

Push­paka­mara rat­tled the In­dian top-or­der with his left-arm spin af­ter a 188-run open­ing stand be­tween Dhawan, who hit 119 in 123 balls, and Lokesh Rahul.

Left-arm wrist spin­ner San­dakan’s wick­ets in­cluded the prized scalp of In­dian skip­per Vi­rat Kohli for 42.

The left-right open­ing bat­ting team of Dhawan and Rahul, who made 85, took In­dia through the first ses­sion against a hap­less Sri Lankan bowl­ing at­tack.

Sri Lanka cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal then ro­tated his spin­ners in the sec­ond ses­sion and In­dia lost three top bats­men in just 11 overs.

The 30-year-old Push­paku­mara, who made his Test de­but in the Sec­ond Test in Colombo, re­moved the open­ers to bring the hosts back into the con­test.

Rahul, who scored his seventh con­sec­u­tive Test fifty, mist­imed a drive to mid-on and Dhawan soon followed his part­ner to the pavil­ion.

Rahul joined Ever­ton Weekes, Andy Flower, Shiv­nar­ine Chan­der­paul, Ku­mar San­gakkara and Chris Rogers on the list of bats­men who have made seven con­sec­u­tive 50-plus scores in Tests.

Kohli tried to stem the rot dur­ing a 84-ball in­nings, ended when he edged a San­dakan de­liv­ery to slip.

Kohli and In­dia toiled in the last ses­sion. The in­nings run-rate plum­meted from around five in the morn­ing ses­sion to 2.76 af­ter tea.

Pace spear­head Vishwa Fer­nando chipped in with the wicket of Ravichan­dran Ash­win, who was caught be­hind af­ter a hard­work­ing 31.

In­dia elected to bat first as they eye a se­ries sweep af­ter tak­ing an unas­sail­able 2-0 lead in Colombo. AFP

REUTERS PIC

Sri Lanka’s Malinda Push­paku­mara cel­e­brates af­ter tak­ing the wicket of In­dia’s Ajinkya Ra­hane yes­ter­day.

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