3rd Test, India tour of Sri Lanka at Kandy, Aug 12

Dhawan celebrates after scoring his sixth Test century

Sri Lanka have brought into the side pacers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage in place of the injured Nuwan Pradeep and Rangana Herath as they seek redemption trying to hit back against India with pace. The runs flowed and on 28, Rahul enjoyed a reprieve as he lofted Dimuth Karunaratne and the catch eluded Kumara. In fact, Rahul ended up skying one, only for Lahiru to this time flop on the field, misjudging the aerial shot completely and dropping the catch.

Dhawan, who lost his wicket to Pushpakumara on 119, scored his second century of the series and his third overall against Sri Lanka.

Earlier, his opening partner Rahul stamped his class in Test cricket with yet another half-century and joined an elite list of cricketers to hit most consecutive fifty-plus scores. Openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan stepped in and took India off to a steady and a controlled start.

Dhawan was not part of original squad and was lucky to get a double break to play the opening Test at Galle International Stadium against Sri Lanka. The previous record of 171 was in the names of Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Singh Sidhu during the 1993 tour. So even if they achieve it against an "in transition" Sri Lankan side, it would be a creditable feat still.

Rahul equalled the all-time record after scoring his seventh consecutive fifty-plus score
Rahul equalled the all-time record after scoring his seventh consecutive fifty-plus score

But soon Dhawan brought up his second ton of the series much to the delight of Indan dressing room. Dhawan departed as his sweep off Pushpakumara found a diving Dinesh Chandimal at square-leg. India's last hundred-plus opening stand away from home came at Fatullah in Bangladesh, when Murali Vijay and Dhawan put on 283. "Not really", Kohli said when asked if he remembered the last time he went into a Test without having had a look at the pitch a day before the toss. India's score read 229/3.

India Playing 11: Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav. If they win in Pallekele, five of their nine wins in the country would have come since 2015, and would also have come consecutively.

It was now upto R Ashwin and Kohli to stitch a partnership.

Pujara, who arrived at the crease after Rahul's departure, looked as unperturbed as he has all series long but a slider from Lakshan Sandakan, the left-arm wrist-spinner, saw a thick edge ricochet off the wicketkeeper's gloves and safely into Angelo Mathews's hands at first slip. As the recent A series in South Africa showed, India have options in Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, who all are capable of playing an aggressive brand of cricket that can instil fear among the oppositions.

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