Like Day 1, India dominated proceedings against Sri Lanka on Day 2 of the second Test at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur. Murali Vijay, back in the side after missing the Sri Lanka tour due to injury, struck a 221-ball 128 and stitched a 209-run partnership with fellow centurion Cheteshwar Pujara. With skipper Virat Kohli and Pujara unbeaten on 54 and 121 respectively, India have a clear upper hand in Nagpur.
With India losing the wicket of KL Rahul late on Day 1, Sri Lanka had the opportunity to pin India on the back foot on a green pitch but their bowlers failed to capitalise on the conditions. India made most of the poor Lankan bowling and managed to score 312 and built up a first innings lead of 107 runs. Kohli's arrival saw India pick up the pace in the third session and if things go according to plan on Sunday, the hosts would like to declare after tea with a handsome lead of 300 runs.
After a very good first hour, the Lankan bowlers lost the plot and were guilty of giving away easy runs to Vijay and Pujara. Kohli made most of their mistakes and scored a quickfire fifty.
Sri Lanka need to get rid of the settled Pujara and Kohli early in the morning and restrict India's lead to below 300. They need their top bowlers Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath and Lahiru Gamage to start firing. Despite the pitch not offering any help, Herath bowled well and accounted for the wicket of Vijay. The 39-year old has given away just 45 runs in 24 overs at a miserly economy rate of 1.87.
Lakmal needs to find the rhythm he possessed during the first Test at Kolkata. The pacer has failed to maintain his line and length and has often not bowled according to the field set-up. After the Kolkata Test, Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal conceded that Kohli turned the match around for India and put Sri Lanka on the back foot. Kohli has set the platform for another such innings and Sri Lanka need to ensure that Kohli is dismissed in the morning session.
With the pitch easing out, batting will become easier as the day goes on. The Lankan bowling attack need to frustrate the Indian batting line-up, preventing them from scoring quickly and delay the declaration as much as possible.
Sri Lanka were on top of their game at Kolkata and aided by rain and bad light, managed to get away with a draw. However, it doesn't look like they would get such help from nature in this match. The Sri Lankans need to get their tactics spot on to claw their way back into the match.