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India 371-4 after big hundreds from Kohli, Vijay

India 371-4 after big hundreds from Kohli, Vijay

Sri Lanka was at the receiving end of India's ruthlessness as the home side’s batsmen enjoyed a run-feast in the third Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on Saturday.

M Vijay and Virat Kohli plundered the runs as the former scored his second consecutive century (155), while the India captain got his third successive ton (156*), powering India to 371 for 4 by the end of the first day.

Sri Lanka struck twice each, early and late in the day, but the 283-run stand between Kohli and Vijay for the third wicket defined the day's play. Vijay batted in a typically solid and elegant manner while Kohli's was an effortless knock that mirrored his recent form.

Incredibly, India scored its runs at a rate of 4.12.

Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara, who made 23 each, fell in the first session while Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane (1) were undone by Lakshan Sandakan at the fag end of the day to give Sri Lanka some late cheer.

Before that though, almost everything went India's way right from the toss. The grass on the pitch made it hard and aided strokeplay, making Kohli's decision to bat first an obvious one. Vijay set the tone early with three boundaries in the first two overs, including a gorgeous straight drive off Lahiru Gamage.

An early switch to Dilruwan Perera's off-spin accounted for Dhawan when he attempted to sweep, only managing a top edge to deep square-leg where Suranga Lakmal held on awkwardly despite losing his balance and a shoe.

Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, who had tormented Sri Lanka with a massive stand in Nagpur, looked to settle in when a smart piece of captaincy from Dinesh Chandimal gave Sri Lanka the breakthrough. Chandimal had Gamage bowling with a leg-slip and Pujara promptly clipped one off his pads straight to that man, falling right into the trap.

M Vijay scored his second consecutive century (155) while Virat Kohli got his third successive ton (156*).
M Vijay scored his second consecutive century (155) while Virat Kohli got his third successive ton (156*).

That would turn out to be Sri Lanka's last moment of joy for nearly two more sessions, as Kohli took off from where he had left in Nagpur. The Indian captain flicked and drove to the boundary, even as Vijay completed his half-century with a bit of good fortune in the form of overthrows in the last over before lunch.

What followed after the break was a display of effortless batting, led by the Indian captain. He quickly realised that the pitch aided strokeplay and that there was no need of excessive consolidation, especially given his form. Without breaking a sweat, Kohli raced past his half-century off just 52 balls. In the process, he also crossed yet another milestone of 5,000 Test runs.

The key to Kohli's batting was his assured footwork. He took long strides forward to drive through the line and also went deep in his crease to cut and steer. It allowed him to find boundaries everywhere and dominate the spinners, without a single shot in the air.

Quietly at the other end, Vijay was doing his business with precision. The elegant whips and drives were in full flow as the opener collected runs with all the class in the world. His century came with a crunching punch off Sandakan in the penultimate over before tea, which also gave way for some fancy celebrations.

The batsmen switched on their autopilot modes in the third session, by when Sri Lanka was already tired and frustrated. Kohli helped himself to his fastest ton in Test cricket, getting there with a single off his 110th ball.

Vijay batted on past his 150, however, he fell to a sharp stumping by Niroshan Dickwella off Sandakan when he dragged his backfoot slightly with less than five overs left in the day. Rahane, who came into the game with scores of 4, 0 and 2 in the series, fell in a similar fashion in Sandakan's next over as Sri Lanka showed fight for the first time in the day.

Posted on 2017-12-02 23:30:27
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QUESTION?

Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

FEEDBACK/COMMENTS

Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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