The first day of the second Test between India and Sri Lanka certainly belonged to the hosts, who despite losing the toss, managed to bundle out the visitors for a paltry 205. However, if there is still a ray of hope for the Lankans in this match it came through the solitary Indian wicket that the islanders managed to scalp before stumps on Day 1.
While India remain in the ascendancy in this Test match, the wicket would have boosted the confidence of the Sri Lankans going into the dressing room, and they will get a chance to have a crack at the Indian batsmen early on Day 2, when the conditions best suit fast bowling.
The Lankans will feel they are well in this contest having scalped 18 Indian wickets in the opening Test in Kolkata. With enough assistance for both the pacers and spinners — as seen on Day 1 — Dinesh Chandimal and Co wouldn't feel intimidated despite managing a low score in their first innings.
Suranga Lakmal showed how capable he was with the new ball in Kolkata. His work thus would be cut out early on Day 2 when the Lankans would be counting on him to make some inroads.
India though will not be too bothered by the loss of that solitary wicket as they have two very steady batsmen in the shape of Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay at the crease. Virat Kohli couldn't have handpicked better players to be at the crease to tackle the morning session.
Sri Lanka will have to break this partnership and get Kohli to face the new ball in the morning. The Indian captain is at his most vulnerable during the initial stages of his innings and the visitors would do well to get him out to bat when there a bit of help for the fast bowlers.
If Pujara and Vijay steady the ship, and with batting expected to become easier on Day 2, India could set the platform for a huge first innings total.
So for Sri Lanka to stay competitive in this Test match, they will have to take the field with the same spirit and self-belief with which they graced the Eden Gardens.
While there is a gulf in skill between the two teams, Sri Lanka can't afford to be intimidated by the Indians. They will have to be aggressive in their intent and look to bowl India out before tea on Saturday.
Sri Lanka have their task cut out after being bowled out for 205, but if they begin Day 2 with the right frame of mind, they could run India very close in Nagpur, just like they did in Kolkata a few days ago.