IND v SL: Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay hit tons, hosts call the shots on Day 1

Dec 03, 2017, 08:25 IST | Ankur Dhawan

Skipper Virat Kohli and opener Murali Vijay hit tons as hosts feast on visitors’ warped bowling strategy to call the shots on Day One of series-deciding Test

Flawless hundreds from Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay — third on the trot for the former and second for the latter — laid the foundation for another massive Indian total, as they went to stumps at 371 for four, here at the Ferozshah Kotla on Saturday. While Vijay fell for 155, missing out again on an elusive double ton in the closing stages, Kohli remained unbeaten on 156, his 20th Test ton, and also his quickest, as he reached there in just 110 balls. In the process, Kohli also became the fourth quickest to 5000 Test runs for India. While the duo maintained a run-rate in excess of four during their 283-run stand, they did so playing risk-free cricket, exemplifying the toothlessness of a four-man Sri Lankan attack.

Murali Vijay (left) celebrates with India skipper Virat Kohli after completing his century against Sri Lanka on Day One of the third Test  at the Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi on Saturday. Pic/PTI Murali Vijay (left) celebrates with India skipper Virat Kohli after completing his century against Sri Lanka on Day One of the third Test  at the Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi on Saturday. Pic/PTI

Sri Lanka made three changes to their side, but the most telling was the omission of a bowler for an extra batsman, exposed to the bone by the Indian batsmen. Lakshan Sandakan, one of the few chinaman bowlers going around, had come in for the injured Rangana Herath, and until the last ball of his 21st over suffered at the hands of the Indian batsmen. SL, a pacer short However, the wrist spinner produced two identical wrong-uns that snaffled both Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane in identical fashion — stumped, as they stretched out to drive, and as though held on a string, the ball spun away deviously to beat the bat.

For most part, however, Sri Lanka were a pacer short on a Day One pitch, offering negligible assistance to the two spinners, who ended up bowling 44 overs between them. Add to that 15 bowled by part-timer Dhananjaya de Silva and the Indian batsmen feasted on 59 overs of spin. For Rahane, it was a fourth failure on the bounce, leaving him with a paltry tally of seven runs in the series so far. That brought Rohit Sharma to the crease, who negotiated the final couple of overs safely, to remain unbeaten on six and with a chance to cash in today. Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara, the other two Indian batsmen dismissed, had both started fluently before losing their wickets on 23 against the run of play. Dhawan top-edged Dilruwan Perera for 23, becoming the off-spinner's 100th Test victim.

5000 Number of Test runs Virat Kohli completed on Saturday, the 11th Indian in this club. The skipper took just 110 balls to reach his century — his fastest Test ton

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In only his 25th Test, Perera became the fastest Sri Lankan to that milestone, surpassing Muttiah Muralitharan who had done it in 27 Tests. Pujara, who was coming off a hundred in Nagpur, looked in ominous form before succumbing to the leg-side trap set by Sri Lanka as he tucked a Lahiru Gamage delivery uppishly to leg-gully, where Sadeera Samarawickrama held a sharp chance.

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