Hardik Pandya pummels Lankan attack for maiden Test ton

Hardik Pandya pummels Lankan attack for maiden Test ton”

India showcased all-round cricketing excellence on the second day of the third Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele, putting the host to trail by 333 runs at Stumps after Virat Kohli chose to enforce the follow-on.

But, the most freaky thing about India's cricket tour of Sri Lanka has been two Test matches where rain has played no significant part.

Four balls after the run-out, most experienced batsman in the side, Angelo Mathews was also walking back to the hut, falling leg before wicket to Pandya.

Taking on the bowler, Pandya this time adopted the stand and deliver technique and sent one over long-off.

Pandya, who made his debut in the opening Test of the series at Galle, smashed eight fours and seven sixes in his blitzkrieg as India were bowled out for 487 first over after lunch.

Malinda Pushpakumara took three wickets and Lakshan Sandakan two, leaving India on 329-6 at the close, with Wriddhiman Saha on 13 and Hardik Pandya on one to return to the crease today when the action restarts.

After an early fall of wickets, Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav had stabilised the innings and helped India reach a challenging score.

Sri Lanka's first-innings largesse allowed Kuldeep Yadav to settle into a menacing rhythm and pick up his second four-wicket haul in only his second Test. Even though people perceive me as happy go lucky, when I am out there batting, I know what my job is. Both balls landed on the flawless length, and in successive overs both Tharanga and Karunaratne had nicked Shami behind, their feet frozen at the crease.

Dhawan though stayed and scored his second hundred of this series off 107 balls.

The Sri Lankans needed just one break.

It was after their dismissals that the pattern of play changed, as Sri Lanka wended their way back into the contest with repeated strikes through Pushpakumara and Lakshan Sandakan, the chinaman bowler.

Pandya then reached the three figure mark, his second half-century coming off only 25 balls.

It proved to be a record-breaking stand as it is the highest opening partnership by a visiting team in Sri Lanka, surpassing the 171 runs accumulated by Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Sidhu in Colombo in 1993.

Brief Scores: India 1st innings: 134 for none in 27 overs (KL Rahul batting 67, Shikhar Dhawan batting 64). So much so that Karunaratne had to be introduced early into the attack and was the best Lankan bowler on display in the morning session.

Pandya has all the ingredients, including the big six-hitting skills and the ability to kill games, which makes us realise that India cricket is in safe hands. Though Dilruwan Perera struggled and was expensive by Test standards, Pushpakumara and Sandakan received plenty of assistance from the dry, grassless pitch.

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