Suranga Lakmal (3/0) leaves India reeling vs Sri Lanka on rain-hit 1st Test

Suranga Lakmal snapped up 3/0, including Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli for a duck, as the hosts were reduced to 17/3 by a disciplined Sri Lanka on a rain-hit day of the first Test at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Nov 17, 2017 08:22 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
India vs Sri Lanka,Indian national cricket team,Sri Lanka national cricket team
Suranga Lakma picked up 3/0, including Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli for 0 as Sri Lanka got off to a great start on a rain-hit day at Eden Gardens Kolkata.(BCCI)

The delivery was worth the delay and had the first day of the opening Test not been punctuated by breaks that ensured only an hour’s play, Thursday would have provided the kind of test skipper Virat Kohli says his India team would love to embrace. (UPDATES) (SCORECARD)

A total of 88.1 overs were lost but in conditions ideal for fast bowling at the Eden Gardens, Suranga Lakmal reduced India to 17 for three after Sri Lanka asked the hosts to bat. Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on eight off 43 balls and Ajinkya Rahane was on zero.

Till play resumed after tea, Lakmal had not conceded a run in 26 deliveries and dismissed KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan. Lakmal stretched it to 30 balls when he completed his fifth over in the day’s final session. He then bowled six more deliveries in a spell that left ruin in its wake for India because he had got Virat Kohli too.

RAHUL’S DUBIOUS RECORD

Rahul went first ball, joining an all-Indian club of batsmen that includes Sudhir Nayak and Sunil Gavaskar to have been dismissed off a delivery that started a Test at Eden Gardens. Bowling from the High Court end, Lakmal started with a ball that seemed like it came in the middle of a dream spell. It pitched on the off-stump and veered just away on a track that offered bounce. Rahul had to play and was caught at the wicket. This was a vicious or beautiful delivery depending on which side of the fence you were on.

In the third ball of that over, Lakmal fired an off-cutter that left Cheteshwar Pujara clueless. Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal buttressed the slip cordon by one to four but with a gully and backward point, Lakmal didn’t end the over half as well as he had begun.

By not making the batsmen play enough, Lahiru Gamage couldn’t keep up the intensity from the other end though he was unlucky not to have got Pujara with one that nipped back in his sixth over. Immediately, play was called off due to bad light. Earlier, Gamage had also got Pujara to play a streaky shot that bisected slip and gully.

But on a day so grey that it seemed like this was Eden Park and not Eden Gardens, Lakmal was a livewire India found too hot to handle.

Suranga Lakmal ripped through the Indian batting order in conditions that were favourable to the bowlers on day 1 of the Kolkata Test. (BCCI)

DHAWAN’S LOOSE SHOT

Dhawan, whose counter-attacking skills were praised by Kohli on Wednesday, went for an expansive drive to one that held its line and played on. How judicious it was for the opener to have tried to play on the rise on a first-day wicket with appreciable bounce is debatable but what is not is that at 13/2 it left India wobbling.

Lakmal got Kohli with a ball that came back but more than the delivery, what perhaps dismissed India’s best batsman was that it came during a spell where he rarely strayed in line. Kohli wasn’t really offering a defensive stroke; rather it looked like he was playing a tentative prod. That Lakmal could sow so many doubts in Kohli’s mind was proof of how he didn’t want the first day to end. His figures at stumps read: 6-6-0-3.

Should the rain hold and it remains this overcast, Chandimal’s idea of exploiting the moisture in the wicket could hit pay dirt on Friday. Even otherwise, it could set up a fascinating day’s contest.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 10:26 IST