‘Comeback man’ Cheteshwar Pujara notched up his 7th Test century on Day 2 of the 3rd Test between India and Sri Lanka. His unbeaten 135, along with a fighting 59 from Amit Mishra, helped India stay afloat in the match after being reduced to 180/7 in the post lunch session. However, the rain gods continued to have their say on the fate of the game, as the play had to be called off earlier than usual for the second consecutive day.
Two big wickets in the first session for Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan bowlers were on the money, right from the word GO on Day 2. Angelo Mathews, Dhammika Prasad, and Nuwan Pradeep bowled a tight line and length, which Kohli and Pujara found tough to handle in the first hour of the day. Just when the two batsmen appeared to be settling down after a period of attrition, Mathews managed to get Kohli caught behind with one outside the off stump. Cheteshwar Pujara, at the other end, appeared rock solid in his defence and managed to keep the bowlers at bay with characteristic relentlessness. Rohit Sharma, who came in next, managed to get a start (26 off 65), but edged a Prasad delivery to the slip cordon right at the stroke of lunch.
Middle order struggles, but Cheteshwar Pujara, Amit Mishra keep India alive
The Indian middle order failed to come to terms with the requirements of the game, and made a mess of the delicate situation that the team had managed to get into by lunch. Stuart Binny turned out to be a one-ball wonder, trapped LBW on the very first ball of the post-lunch session. Debutant Naman Ojha got a decent start to his innings, and supported Pujara quite well during their 54 run stand. The fall of his wicket brought Ravichandran Ashwin to the crease, with the score on 173/6. Ashwin, however, failed to make use of his batting skills once again, and was sent back to the pavilion quite cheaply by Prasad.
With the innings tottering at 180/7, Amit Mishra and Cheteshwar Pujara took charge. The duo battled the dominant Sri Lankan bowlers for some time, before Mishra came up with an eclectic array of shots to take the pressure off his partner. A 104-run stand for the 8th wicket saw India’s fortunes revive, but the home team managed to sneak their way back into the game with Mishra’s wicket late in the day.
India – 292/8 (Cheteshwar Pujara 135*, Amit Mishra 59, Dhammika Prasad 4/83)