India reach 329/6 at stumps vs Sri Lanka

Hardik Pandya's inclusion has been the biggest positive says Virat Kohli

Hardik Pandya's inclusion has been the biggest positive says Virat Kohli

Malinda Pushpakumara took three wickets and Lakshan Sandakan two, leaving India on 329-6 at the close, with Wriddhiman Saha on 13 and Hardik Pandya on one to return to the crease today when the action restarts.

Pandya finally succumbed to spinner Lakshan Sandakan on the third ball of the second session as India's innings ended without adding to the lunch total.

Sri Lanka Cricket said right-arm fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage were brought into the squad in place of injured Nuwan Pradeep and Rangana Herath.

After the rain leading up to the Test, Saturday dawned bright and sunny and Virat Kohli had little hesitation in choosing to bat.

The opening session of the Test belonged to the Indian openers as they milked the bowling attack to put on 188 runs for the opening wicket, bettering the record of 171-run stand between Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Singh Sidhu (1993).

Pandya then struck a body blow with the ball as well trapping Angelo Mathews (0) lbw in the 10th over as Lanka were reduced to 38 for 4. Especially once we got out, the way he came back and bowled, it was good for them. He would go on to score 20-odd more runs before holding out to a sharp catch at Mid-On by Karunaratne off of Pushpakumara, begging the question of why it took 550+ wickets in domestic cricket for him to be selected.

The aggressive Dhawan latched on to short stuff from the recalled Lahiru Kumara with some exquisite cuts, while Rahul pulled expertly and drove with elegance as India got off to an ominous start.

Dhawan faced 123 balls in his knock and punished the home bowlers with 17 boundaries.

Kohli and Rahane were then tasked with stabilizing the innings, which they did, ensuring no more wickets were lost as the team headed into Tea. A series of full-tosses and no-balls dotted the 22-ball over as Wellington tried to induce Canterbury to chase a target in the hope of forcing a result.

It is not easy because everyone wants to play and luckily we have such players who are just waiting for opportunities.

It's also going to be a different situation in that the picturesque cricket ground at Pallekele is one of the newest in the country, having hosted only five Tests and India featuring in none of these. The final wicket of the day fell as Ashwin departed for 31 off a Vishwa Fernando delivery. But this one Sandakan pushed a bit wider, Kohli stretched but only managed to edge it to Dimuth Karunaratne at first slip.

As far as Playing XI is concerned, left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav will make his overseas Test debut.

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