Sri Lanka v India 3rd Test day 2 review: Pujara leads Indian fightback with a masterful ton

Sri Lanka v India 3rd Test day 2 review: Pujara leads Indian fightback with a masterful ton

Sri Lankan cricketer Dhammika Prasad
Sri Lankan cricketer Dhammika Prasad (C) celebrates with teammates after he dismissed Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma during the second day of the third and final Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and India at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in Colombo on August 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / Ishara S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka v India 3rd Test day 2 review: Pujara leads Indian fightback with a masterful ton: Dhammika Prasad’s excellent seam bowling and Cheteshwar Pujara’s rearguard action was the centre of all the action on Day 2 of the 3rd Test between India and Sri Lanka. Much like the first session, the second one too saw Sri Lanka trouble India by picking up three wickets. Pujara, however, held one end up with a superb innings of 135*, which was a pure display of skill and temperament. The day was eventually called off with India at 292/8 when rain arrived.

It was challenging batting conditions that welcomed Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara on Day 2 at the Sinhalese Sports Club. Resuming on 50/2, Kohli was put under pressure straightaway by Dhammika Prasad. The pitch had been under covers for a long time on day one thanks to heavy showers and was offering assistance. The pair of Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep bowled the right lengths and forced Pujara and Kohli to bat with patience.

Mathews brought himself on after a four-over spell from Prasad. Off just his third delivery, he had Kohli poking out and edging to the wicket-keeper. Prasad was bowling his heart out and was justly rewarded with the wicket of Rohit Sharma just before lunch. He departed after a crucial 55 run stand with Pujara.

In the post lunch session, Prasad found more success, trapping Stuart Binny for a first-ball duck and later accounting for R Ashwin off the first ball of a new spell. Debutant Naman Ojha played a neat little hand and shared a 54-run stand with Pujara before falling to a loose shot against Kaushal for 21.

All this while, Pujara battled hard and showed exactly what was needed to counter the conditions and bowling. Soft hands, judgement outside off and loads of patience were the hallmarks of Pujara’s classy knock. His game was to see off the seamers and go after the spinners and he was single-handedly responsible for taking India to a respectable score in the first innings. He got to his 7th Test ton with a quick single to mid off minutes before the Tea break. At tea, India were 220/7.

Amit Mishra played the role of the perfect all-rounder that Stuart Binny should have and brought up a fine fifty to attack the Sri Lankans. His innings comprised of some glorious shots and the ease with which he was playing was truly commendable. Sri Lanka managed to get Mishra towards the end but by then he had already helped India to a respectable position.

Riding on the back of Cheteshwar Pujara’s brilliant century, India find themselves in a good position. Pujara exhibited his defensive skills and also showed superb temperament. The Sri Lankan pacers tried every trick in the trade, but weren’t able to dismiss him. He would be a delighted man for sure as he is on a comeback trail in Tests. Barring Amit Mishra, who played an enterprising knock, rest of the Indian batsmen struggled to make an impact.

When Mishra came to bat, India were in a spot of bother, but he took the pressure off Pujara’s shoulders by playing some aggressive shots. Earlier, the likes of Virat Kohli, Naman Ojha and Rohit Sharma got starts, but weren’t able to convert it into big ones. For the home team, Dhammika Prasad bowled with venom and vigour to scalp four wickets.

The hosts need to up their game tomorrow and bowl out the opposition ranks as early as possible. On the other hand, the tourists will look up to Pujara to put them in a commanding position and later put pressure on an inexperienced Sri Lankan batting.

Brief Scores:

India 1st innings – 292/8 (Pujara 135, Mishra 59; Parasad 4-83)