Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal knocked off the openers in a superb opening spell and removed Virat Kohli for a duck to leave India reeling at 17 for 3 when bad light ended play in the rain-interrupted first Test at Eden Gardens on Thursday.
Stumps were called after one-too-many interruption on the opening day’s play after visiting skipper Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and opted to bowl under overcast conditions. The match started three and half hours late due to wet ground conditions.
When the action began, Lakmal made full use of the Eden gardens green-top and removed K L Rahul (0)and Shikhar Dhawan (8). India were 17/2 after 8.2 overs when bad light stopped play after only 43 minutes of action.
Relishing the conditions, Lakmal produced an unplayable first ball that pitched in the middle stump and swung away to take an edge off Rahul. India were yet to open their account. The golden duck ended Rahul’s streak of seven successive fifties.
Continuing his dream start, the Lankan new-ball bowler almost cleaned up Cheteshwar Pujara with a fuller inswinger in a space of one delivery. But luckily for the most dependable India batsman, the ball, which darted back, went inches above the middle stump.
Eyeing their first ever Test win in India, it was a perfect start for Sri Lanka, and Chandimal employed four slips and a gully for the most part. But Sri Lanka could not capitalise from there on, with Lahiru Gamage bowling loose balls at the other end.
Post-tea, Lakmal again struck, this time trapping Kohli at the crease with a full, inswinging delivery. Indian captain chose to review but the decision wasn’t reversed. Pujara survived a close-call at the end of the day with a full ball missing the off stump by an inch. Play was called off after that, with the light deteriorating.
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