DHAWAN, PUJARATONS PUT INDIA IN CONTROL
Galle, Sri Lanka - Seldom have Indian Test teams gone on tour and enjoyed a first day this dominant.
Batting first at one of the most bat-first grounds in the world, it cruised along at more than four an over while losing only three wickets, one in each session, going to stumps one short of 400 on Wednesday.
Shikhar Dhawan, back at the top of the order after missing India's last 11 Tests, scored a century (190) in a session for the second time in his career, rekindling memories of his blazing 187 on debut.
Having surpassed that score, he fell three minutes from tea, failing to clear mid-off when he was ten short of a maiden double-hundred.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who walked in to bat in the eighth over of the morning, was still batting at stumps, on a serene 144 that was not only chanceless but almost without blemish.
Also unbeaten at stumps was Ajinkya Rahane on 39, who added an unbroken 113 with Pujara to shut the door on Sri Lanka after two wickets either side of tea had given it the most fleeting glimmer of hope.
One of those wickets was of Dhawan. The other was of Virat Kohli, India's captain, who was out to the short ball - top-edging a hook to the keeper.
Nuwan Pradeep, who returned from the hamstring injury that had kept him out of the Test against Zimbabwe earlier this month, was Sri Lanka's only wicket-taker with three for 64.
He was no less patchy with his lines and lengths than the rest of Sri Lanka's attack, but he produced two genuinely wicket-taking deliveries, the bouncer to Kohli and, in the eighth over of the morning, a good-length ball from around the wicket that straightened in the corridor outside off stump to have Abhinav Mukund edge behind at 12.
Six overs later, Sri Lanka let Dhawan off when he was on 31. Pitching one up outside off, Lahiru Kumara induced Dhawan's only loose drive of the morning session. Diving to his left from second slip, Asela Gunaratne got both hands to the ball but failed to hold on.
Then he went off the field, holding on gingerly to an already heavily strapped left hand. It later emerged that the ball had fractured Gunaratne's left thumb, and that he was unlikely to play any further part in the match and the rest of the three-Test series.
Insult followed injury. Dhawan made no other mistakes, moving to 64 by lunch. He had only hit eight fours in the first session, while still cruising at a strike rate in the 70s thanks to a proactive pursuit of quick singles, but exploded thereafter, hitting 23 fours, all around the dial, in the second session.
Between lunch and his dismissal, Dhawan scored 126 off 90 balls, breaking Polly Umrigar's India record of 110 in the post-lunch session, made during his unbeaten innings of 172 in Port-of-Spain in April 1962. Virender Sehwag, who scored 133 in the post-tea session against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium in 2009, is the only Indian batsman to score more runs in a session.
Sri Lankan skipper Rangana Herath set defensive fields throughout this onslaught, but Dhawan kept breaching the boundary no matter how many fielders he sent out to protect it.
Dhawan and Pujara kept the flame of 2015 burning. Dhawan stepped out 29 times, scoring 36 runs including seven fours, and Pujara danced down 50 times, scoring 39 runs including three fours.
Sri Lanka enforced a brief lull in India's scoring following the wickets of Dhawan and Kohli, with Rahane taking 40 balls to get into double figures.
Pujara, though, eased whatever pressure it may have created on his partner, skipping down the track twice in one over to drive Herath to the extra-cover and straight boundaries, and in the next over lashing Kumara through the covers, one ball after he had brought up his 12th Test hundred.