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Hardik Pandya, pacers put India in command against Sri Lanka

India extended its dominance over Sri Lanka on the second day of the opening Test of the three-match series against Sri Lanka being played at the Galle International Stadium.

After posting a gigantic first inning score of 600, the Indian bowlers rattled through the Sri Lankan top order on Thursday.

At Stumps on Day Two, the hosts were reeling at 154/5 and they still trail by 446 runs with five wickets in hand.

Sri Lanka got off to a shaky start as they lost opener Dimuth Karunaratne (2) cheaply with just seven runs on the board.

However, Upul Tharanga and Danushka Gunathilaka then shared a 61-run stand and tried to steady the ship before the latter got out at his individual score of 16. Kusal Mendis, who came in next, didn’t trouble the scorers as he went for a duck to become the second scalp of Mohammed Shami.

From there on, Tharanga and Angelo Mathews tried to stitch in another partnership and made efforts to bring their team back into the match before the left-handed batsman threw his wicket and was run-out after scoring 64.

Wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella also didn’t stay much at the crease and became the first victim of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, only to put his team in a serious spot of bother.

At the end of day’s play Mathews (54*) was accompanied by Dilruwan Perera (8*) and they would both try to cut the deficit as far as possible. Their first aim, when they come to bat on Day Three, would be avoid the follow-on which is still 146 runs away.

For the visitors, Shami scalped two wickets, while Umesh Yadav and Ashwin chipped in with a wicket each.

Earlier, debutant Hardik Pandya carried on the onslaught started by Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara as India posted 600 on the board.

Pandya, who got dropped early in his innings, used the opportunity and scored a blistering half-century of just 49 balls. His innings was studded with 5 fours and 3 sixes.

He was the last wicket to fall for the visitors as India have already taken the driver’s seat in the ongoing Test.

Starting the day at 399 for 3, overnight batsmen Pujara (153) and Ajinkya Rahane (57) got out early in the morning session that saw India lose four wickets.

However, all-rounder Ashwin played a positive knock of 47 and helped the team inch towards a gigantic first inning-score.

Earlier on Day One, opener Dhawan (190) and Pujara led India’s carnage as the visitors scored 399 on the very first day.

Nuwan Pradeep was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers as he finished with figures of 6-132. This was Pradeep’s first wicket-haul in Test matches.

Lahiru Kumara also took three wickets while skipper Rangana Herath took the remaining wicket.

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