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KL Rahul equals world record of most consecutive half-centuries in Test cricket

Indian cricket team opener KL Rahul once again missed out on a century, but managed to equal the world record on Day One of the Pallekele Test against Sri Lanka.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 12, 2017 16:09 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs Sri Lanka,KL Rahul,IND v SL
KL Rahul acknowledges the applause from the crowd as he leaves the ground after losing his wicket during the first day's play of India’s third cricket Test match against Sri Lanka in Pallekele on Saturday.(AP)

KL Rahul may have missed out on a century against Sri Lanka on the opening day of the Pallekele Test, but his innings of 85 helped the right-handed opener join an exclusive club of batsmen to score the most consecutive half-centuries in Test cricket history. (IND v SL UPDATES | SCORECARD)

Rahul scored his seventh half-century on Saturday as he was dismissed for 85, which came off 135 balls and eight boundaries against Sri Lanka. Rahul was also involved in a robust 188-run stand for the first wicket with Shikhar Dhawan, but only the latter went on to get to triple figures.

Rahul and Dhawan also created the record of highest opening stand for a visiting side in Sri Lanka when they put up 188, bettering the record of 171-run stand between Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Singh Sidhu (1993).

READ | Shikhar Dhawan continues hot form with quick ton vs Sri Lanka in 3rd Test

In the second Test at Colombo last week, Rahul fell for 57 in India’s only innings, which helped him equal the Indian record — six — of most consecutive Test half-centuries. Gundappa Viswanath and Rahul Dravid are the other two Indians with most consecutive fifties in Test cricket.

On Saturday, he joined the likes of Sir Everton Weekes (1948-49), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2000-01), Andy Flower (2006-07), Kumar Sangakkara (2013-14) and Chris Rogers (2014-15) in scoring as many as seven fifties consecutively in Tests. Rahul has achieved his feat in the 2016-17 season.

Rahul, who averages close to 45 in Tests after 18 matches, has been India’s preferred opener along with Murali Vijay. His last century came against England at Chennai — a Test in which Rahul agonisingly fell short by one run from making his maiden double century.

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Since then, Rahul has had a plethora of fifties but not a century. He scored 2 and 10 in the two outings against Bangladesh, but it was the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2016-17 where he stood out as the most consistent Indian batsman.

Rahul began with scores of 64 and 10 at Pune in the first Test, made 90 and 51 at his hometown in Bengaluru, scored 67 at Ranchi and finished the series with scores of 60 and 51 not out in Dharamsala.

The second Test of the ongoing India-Sri Lanka series saw Rahul once again falling after a half-century, when he was dismissed for 57 in India’s only innings. Rahul had missed the opening match of the series due to illness, which prevented him from travelling from Galle from Colombo.

First Published: Aug 12, 2017 16:02 IST