Cricket

India vs Sri Lanka: Struggling hosts need Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane to steady ship on Day 2

  • FirstCricket Staff
  • November 16th, 2017
  • 20:35:33 IST

The first Test between India and Sri Lanka, taking place at the hallowed Eden Gardens in Kolkata, saw one team dominating the other on a rain-curtailed opening day.

However, unlike the narrative in recent months, it was Sri Lanka's turn to dominate as they grabbed three early Indian wickets after putting the hosts in to bat.

The same side that was blanked 0-9 across formats by Virat Kohli and company barely three months ago were suddenly showing signs of the old Sri Lankan team that rose to the top of world cricket in the 1990s and 2000s.

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara were unbeaten at the end of Day 1. AP

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara were unbeaten at the end of Day 1. AP

The day got off to a delayed start as the wet outfield resulted in the morning session getting wiped out. Once the weather gods finally decided to relent, it was an excellent toss to win for captain Dinesh Chandimal, who named seam-bowling all-rounder Dasun Shanaka in the visitors' XI, as the Sri Lankan pacers got the first crack at a greenish surface with overcast conditions.

It was a dream start as Suranga Lakmal, removed KL Rahul off the very first delivery of the match. The dismissal, a faint nick off the batsman's outside edge to the wicket-keeper, ended Rahul's streak of seven successive half-centuries that got him a berth in the openers' slot at the expense of Murali Vijay in the first place.

Even though the skies continued to play hide-and-seek throughout the day, with bad light stopping play intermittently as well, it did not prevent Lakmal from continuing his destruction of the Indian top-order, as he got rid of both Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli later in the day, with India reeling at 17 for 3 after 11.5 overs before bad light forced the officials to call off play early.

With Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane out in the middle right now, India need the two Test specialists to grind it out on the second day and bring the situation back to normalcy for the hosts. The two batsmen have been part of perilous situations in the past, and have the technique and temperament to not just tackle any incoming threats, but to forge a solid partnership that could actually put India in a position of power. What fans can expect from Day 2 however, is a contest that promises to be every bit as exciting as it can get. Hopefully, the rains stay away!

Updated Date: November 16, 2017 20:35:33 IST

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