Lanka play seven batters to bolster flagging line-up : Kohli, Vijay flay Lankan bowling on passive Kotla pitch | Sunday Observer

Lanka play seven batters to bolster flagging line-up : Kohli, Vijay flay Lankan bowling on passive Kotla pitch

Indian captain Virat Kohli and opening bat Murali Vijay who hit a century apiece and figured in a ---century stand partnership for the third wicket running between the wickets on the first day of the third and final cricket Test against Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Saturday.  AFP
Indian captain Virat Kohli and opening bat Murali Vijay who hit a century apiece and figured in a ---century stand partnership for the third wicket running between the wickets on the first day of the third and final cricket Test against Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Saturday. AFP

DELHI, Saturday – It was Nagpur all over again as Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli dominated a four-man Sri Lankan bowling attack to score flawless centuries and put India in command on the opening day of the third and final cricket Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here today.

Winning the toss and batting first India piled up an imposing 371 for four wickets with Vijay and Kohli putting together a third wicket partnership of 283 off 402 balls to put the Lankan bowlers at misery.

India who are leading the three-match series 1-0 are already heading for another huge total in excess of 600 and Sri Lanka whose batting has been very poor so far in the series will need to come up with something out of the box if they are to avoid another massive defeat.

So far with the exception of the first Test at Kolkata where a green pitch and overcast conditions made the contest a rather even one, the series have been so one-sided that watching the Indian batsmen dominate the Lankan bowling so much without a fight has made it rather boring match.

The only noteworthy feature from Sri Lanka’s view point was off-spinner Dilruwan Perera becoming the fastest Sri Lankan bowler to capture 100 Test wickets.

Perera brought into the attack as early as the eighth over of the innings reached that milestone in his second over when Shikhar Dhawan (23) attempted to sweep him but ended up giving a catch to Lakmal at deep backward square leg. The fielder lost his left boot going for the catch, but more importantly he held onto the ball.

Perera was playing in his 25th Test since making his debut in January 2014 and thus became the quickest Sri Lankan bowler to reach that landmark beating legendary bowlers like Muthiah Muralitharan who captured his 100 wickets playing in his 27th Test and Rangana Herath who achieved it in 29 Tests.

Sri Lanka also picked up the all important wicket of Cheteswar Pujara for 23 when he fell into the trap set for him trying to flick a ball from Lahiru Gamage that went straight into the hands of Sadeera Samarawickrama stationed at leg slip.

Sri Lanka had to wait near the draw of stumps to capture another wicket when Vijay was drawn forward by Lakshan Sandakan and was stumped by Niroshan Dickwella for a well compiled innings of 155 scored off 267 balls (13 fours).

Immediately afterwards the Dickwella-Sandakan combination also accounted for the out of form Ajinkya Rahane for one. The two wickets late in the evening was some compensation for the tired Lankan bowling attack that had been put the sword throughout the day by the Vijay-Kohli partnership.

Both batsmen reached their fastest half-centuries of their careers respectively - Vijay getting to it off 67 balls off an overthrow boundary following a direct hit that deflected, and Kohli reaching his fifty off 52 balls with 10 fours three of which came off one over from Gamage.

By tea Vijay had beaten his captain to the century completing his 11th in a Test off 163 balls (9 fours) and crossed the 150-run mark off 251 balls with 13 fours.

Kohli reached his 21st Test century and the third of the series off 110 balls executing 14 fours and his 150 came up off 178 balls with 16 fours. How Kohli paced his innings out was a lesson for all. He hit 10 fours in his first 50, a further four boundaries in reaching his 100 and only two more boundaries in completing 150.

The pace at which Kohli scored with a strike rate of over 80 was more as if he was batting in an ODI game and not a five-day Test. He made batting look so easy it seemed as if he was taking a walk in the park. During his knock Kohli became the 11th Indian batsmen to go past the 5000 Test run mark when he drilled Lakmal for two fours in one over.

The swiftness at which Kohli makes his strokes leaves the fielder with no chance to get to the ball for he can only watch it speed past him. His hand-eye coordination are so quick that makes him different to other cricketers when it comes to batting.

With Kohli’s smooth acceleration India maintained a run rate of around 4.3 an over throughout the day which was a reflection of how the pitch played and how thin the Lankan bowling looked especially with only four frontline bowlers on a surface of this nature against the class of Kohli and the skills of Vijay.

SADEERA OUT OF DANGER

Sri Lanka lost the services of their youngest member in the team Sadeera Samarawickrama when he was hit on the forehead of his helmet attempting to avoid a sweep shot from Vijay and had to retire to the pavilion. An update on his condition put out by Sri Lanka Cricket said that he had undergone a CT scan on his brain and has been cleared by the medical team. However he will be closely monitored and a decision will be taken of whether he can take the field today.

Sri Lanka opted to go in with seven batsmen and four bowlers thus taking a chance by increasing the workload on the bowlers by debuting Roshen Silva, making him Sri Lanka’s 144th Test player. They also included spinner Lakshan Sandakan who came for Herath and Dhananjaya de Silva for Lahiru Thirimanne. India made two changes with Dhawan replacing Rahul and Mohammad Sami replacing Umesh Yadav.

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