Day 2: Kohli, Vijay flay Lankan attack

Day 2: Kohli, Vijay flay Lankan attack

A new day, a new venue, but nothing new on the offer. It was a replay of ruthless Indian domination. Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli scored centuries with customary felicity and Sri Lanka once again found themselves flattened by the weight of their runs.

The strip at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium contained no more than a sprinkle of grass. India elected to bat, and a long day for Sri Lanka was sealed. As the sun beat down with full force, the surface only became friendlier and the repertoire of Indian strokes grew wider.

The hosts scored at a fast clip. The gigantic third-wicket 283-run partnership between Kohli and Vijay prepared the ground for a strong finish of the first day of the third Test. At stumps, India at 371/4, were in the forefront with Kohli batting on 156 and Rohit Sharma for company with 6.

In the morning, India had made two changes to the playing XI – Shikhar Dhawan for KL Rahul and Umesh Yadav for Mohammad Shami. Sri Lanka effected three changes – Lakshan Sandakan, Roshen Silva and Dhananjaya De Silva replacing Lahiru Thirimanne, Dasun Shanaka and Rangana Herath.

 


Yet, it made little difference to the Sri Lankan fortunes. Dhawan and Vijay comfortably negotiated the early challenge. By the eighth over, captain Dinesh Chandimal had introduced off-spinner Dilruwan Perera. Dhawan looked in a zone, but an ill-timed sweep off Perera brought his end. Perera, with his 100th Test wicket in 25 matches, became the fastest Sri Lankan to reach the feat. Cheteshwar Pujara then joined Vijay, who had been nearly monastic in his approach. But Pujara, too, didn't last for long. He couldn't keep down his glance and Sadeera Samarawickrama at leg gully took a fine catch.

 

It brought Kohli to the middle and the complexion of the day's play irreversibly changed. The Indian captain, fresh from his 213 in Nagpur, was a picture of relentless determination and immediately took on the fragile Sri Lankan bowling. He attacked with urgency and threatened to overtake Vijay, who raced to his fastest Test fifty in 67 balls. Kohli followed shortly with a glance to the fence in 52 balls, which was also his fastest attempt.

The second session saw Sri Lanka's bowlers err in line and length to leak 129 runs. Their seamers and spinners were equally ineffective, and barely bowled to the field. With easy pickings at their disposal, Vijay and Kohli made merry. In between, Kohli, with another drive, became the 11th Indian to get to the 5000-run mark in Tests. By tea, Vijay had beaten his charismatic captain to reach his 11th Test century with a cover boundary and let out the pent-up emotions with a small jig to the dressing room. Kohli joined the centurion club soon on resumption, his No. 20 and first on the home ground.

The two looked poised to continue when Sandakan, the left-arm wrist spinner, who was having a rather ordinary day, struck. Vijay, coming forward, found the ball move away. He ended up dragging his foot on the line and Niroshan Dickwella whipped the bails off in a flash. Sandakan then returned to fox Ajinkaya Rahane with a googly, drawing him forward. Apart from this brief spell of fightback, Sri Lanka had little to show on a miserable day for them.

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