Virat Kohli, Abhinav Mukund shine, India near 500-run lead vs Sri Lanka in Galle
Indian cricket team continued to dominate Sri Lanka in Galle Test, with fifties from both Virat Kohli and opener Abhinav Mukund taking the visitors’ lead to 498 at stumps on Day 3. Earlier, Ravindra Jadeja’s three-fer restricted the hosts to 291 in their first innings.india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Jul 28, 2017 20:59 IST
India ticked all the boxes on day three with two of their batsmen who had missed out on runs in the first innings --- Virat Kohli and Abhinav Mukund --- helping themselves to half-centuries against Sri Lanka on Friday. (India vs Sri Lanka Day 3 Highlights)
Kohli (batting 76 off 114 balls) and Mukund (89 off 117 balls) scored at a brisk pace, adding 133 off 178 balls to help India finish on 189 for three and stretch the lead to 498 at close on the third day at the Galle International Stadium. (India vs Sri Lanka Day 3 Scorecard)
With the game predictably growing one-sided with every over, the contrast between the two sides was most obvious in the way they negotiated the final session of play --- Sri Lanka on Thursday and India on Friday. The Indian bowlers had turn, drift and bounce on offer when they prised out the home team’s top-order, while on the third evening watching Kohli and Mukund bat, it felt like they were playing on a featherbed.
Earlier, India took a 309-run lead after bundling out Sri Lanka for 291. The India captain opted to wait before going for the kill by not enforcing the follow-on.
Kohli makes a statement
The interest on the third day mainly centered around Kohli. It is his first Test after the below-par series against Australia at home, and the coach controversy. It is natural to feel the pressure. To add to it, he had failed in the first innings. But, when he walked out to bat after the 86-minute stoppage caused by a thundershower in the afternoon session, Kohli was confidence personified. He began with a boundary and continued to play delightful strokes.
When Pradeep came on for his second spell, Kohli greeted him with back-to-back fours; first a cover drive and then one to the square leg fence. It completely deflated the Sri Lankan attack. Pradeep, who took six wickets in the first innings, conceded 35 runs in six wicketless overs.
It was expected that after getting Kohli out on a bouncer in the first innings, the Sri Lankan pacers would target him with the short stuff. Surprisingly, they hardly tested the India captain with the short stuff. One reason could be that the first innings effort had taken a toll on them.
Mukund makes impression
If KL Rahul is declared fit, Mukund knows he is unlikely to get another chance in this series, especially after flopping in the first innings. With the pressure of selection off him, the southpaw played freely, leaving a good impression with a polished innings.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja picked up three wickets and debutant Hardik Pandya claimed his maiden Test wicket as India restricted the Sri Lankan lower-order.
But for an unconvincing DRS verdict against Dilruwan Perera, India could have wrapped up the proceedings much earlier than 291. Perera, who defied India with some bold hitting on way to an undefeated 92, looked plumb in front of the wicket against Jadeja’s slider when he was on 38, but the ‘Ultraedge’ bizarrely showed the ball was going over the stumps. The ball had hit below the batsman’s knee roll and didn’t have much distance to travel to the stumps.
First Published: Jul 28, 2017 12:33 IST