At stumps, India 371/4 after 90 overs - Kohli 156*, Rohit 6*: Sandakan led Sri Lanka’s late fightback with stumpings of Vijay and then Rahane. India, however, remain well placed for a big total, especially with skipper Virat Kohli still around. The late drama, though, would have rattled India, who dominated for much of the day.
After 87.3 overs, India 365/4 - Kohli 156: WICKET! Rahane’s horror phase continues. He’s stumped on 1. Sandakana strikes again., Dickwella makes no mistake behind the wicket. Sri Lanka staging late fightback.
Rahane st Dickwella b Sandakan 1 (5b).
After 86 overs, India 361/3 - Kohli 153: WICKET! Vijay’s marathon innings comes to an end. He departs for 155. Sri Lanka finally catch a break. Dickwella’s fast glove work has Vijay stumped off Sandakan.
M Vijay st Dickwella b Sandakana 155 (267b).
After 85 overs, India 357/2 - Vijay 154, Kohli 152: Kohli also crosses the 150-run mark. His eighth 150+ score of his Test career. Sri Lanka have no strategy to end India’s dominance. Bowlers are just going through the motions.
After 82 overs, India 349/2 - Vijay 151, Kohli 146: Murali Vijay reaches 150! Its taken him 251 deliveries to reach the mark. This is the fourth time that he has achieved the feat. The partnership between Vijay and Kohli has now stretched to 271.
After 78 overs, India 322/2 - Vijay 144, Kohli 128: The run rate has dipped in the final session, perhaps because these two know they have enough for the day. Gamage comes back for a spell – second new ball due soon.
Meanwhile in Australia...
India 308/2 after 75 overs: A word of appreciation for Dhananjay Silva who has been very economical as the fifth bowler for Sri Lanka. After 8 overs he has conceded just 16 runs. Bowling from round the wicket he has been restrictive, with a leg-side heavy field. Even if it’s a negative-ish plan, it’s a plan at least from Chandimal. And in the last over, he got Kohli to play 3 false shots in a row – not sure if that has happened in this series at all.
Drinks, India 302/2 after 72 overs: Into the final hour and India have reached the 300-run mark.
After 69 overs INDIA: 291/2: More like a net session this. The duo have added more than 200 runs now and doing it with ease.
Meanwhile in the commentary box...
Jonathan Trott: ‘It’s looked too easy for India, they have not had to take any risks.’
Murali Karthik: ‘Welcome to the comm box, I have seen it for the past 5 months’ Ouch.
After 62 over, INDIA 269/2: Century no 20 for Virat Kohli! And perhaps the easiest he has scored? Quite likely. Gets there with an easy single to midwicket and muted celebrations. He has now converted the last six 50s into 100s.
Back-to-back centuries for Murali Vijay, India 245 for 2 at tea: Easy does it for Murali Vijay. Gets there with a powerful cut shot and celebrates it with a double dab with his captain. His 11th Test century and with that he pretty much seals his spot at the top of the batting order.
Time for tea. Time for some of us to wonder where this Test match is headed.
After 55 overs, India 236/2: Getting close to tea time, Kohli and Vijay are actually keeping the 4-plus run rate up without the slightest hint of a risk. Lakmal has been back in the attack in search of a breakthrough, but there’s nothing on the pitch whatsoever for the quicks. Sandakan has impressed in patches with a wrong ‘un beating Vijay’s outside edge.
If you need excitement, then watch this...
After 51 overs, India 220/2 - Kohli 84, Vijay 93: No boundaries in the last 5 overs. If we didn’t know any better we’d say India are taking it a bit easy on the Sri Lankan bowlers. Singles and twos abound.
After 46 overs, India 201/2: Here’s an update. Things are still easy for Kohli and Vijay. The Sri Lankan attack has looked as toothless as a 99-year-old grandfather. The two batsmen are now just picking the gaps and getting ones and twos with ease. And the 200 is up in just after the 45th over – that’s half way through the quota for the day, let us remind you. The conditions are only going to get better for batting. This is getting ugly for Sri Lanka.
Drinks, After 41 overs, INDIA: 181/2:
One hour since lunch: Kohli: 47 off 45 balls. Vijay: 18 off 41 balls.
The Indian captain is in a zone where he’s making it look too easy.
Fifty for Virat Kohli at his home ground! Well, there’s no stopping the Indian captain seemingly. Cover drive, followed by leg glance and two fours take him to his 50th Test fifty. Follows that up with a disdainful pull shot. He’s catching up with Vijay already. After 38 overs, India 167/2.
After 36 overs, India 148/2: We are already running out of ways to say this is all too easy for India, especially Kohli. As great as the shots he has been playing, it begs the question – where is the challenge. Of course, no blame on Kohli. He’s just toying with the bowlers. Perera goes full, he cover drives for 4. Perera goes short, he cuts late and fine for four.
After 32 overs, India 139/2, another milestone for Kohli: With a signature cover drive off Lakmal that speeds away for 4, Kohli reaches his 5000th Test run. It’s an incredible shot – one of three exquisite shots he has played since the lunch break. 50 partnership up between the two, almost run a ball. Looking so easy out there at the moment.
Back for the second session, India 117/2 after 28 overs: 100-wicket man Dilruwan starts proceedings for Sri Lanka and concedes just 1 run in the first over as the batsmen ease back in. The run rate for India is still over 4 runs per over – very healthy.
Fifty for Vijay, India 116/2 at lunch after 27 overs: Nasser Hussain’s “Vijay never scores ugly runs” is one of those things that will remain forever true. Such grace when he gets going as he reaches yet another fifty. Nothing graceful about how he got there though, with a direct hit getting deflected to the boundary for 5 runs. \
And with that over, it’s lunch in Delhi. Despite the two wickets that fell in the session, India will be very happy with the proceedings. Join us soon for the next session.
After 25 overs, India 104/2: 100 up for India in the 24th over. Some extra-ordinarily pleasing shots by Vijay – straight, past cover, through long on. And Kohli has got going in no time – 3 boundaries in his first 18 balls. Sandakan offering no mystery so far, but did beat Vijay with one that spun away.
After 21 overs, India 82/2, Pujara is gone: And once again, a wicket out of nowhere. Pujara, who was looking aggressive-er than usual, playing his shots early on, falls for a trap set by Chandimal. Gamage has a leg gully in place and what seemed like a regular good length ball on the stumps, ends up flush in the hands of that fielder – Pujara glances it in that direction and can’t believe he fell for that.
Meanwhile Kohli comes in and flicks the ball for four through midwicket like he has been batting all day long...
After 19 overs, India 71/1: After a brief lull in scoring post Dhawan’s dismissal the tempo is picking up. Pujara started with 5 off 23 balls, moves to 13 off 34 balls with three boundaries. Looks like he wants to pick up his scoring rate early today. There is barely any bounce on the pitch, and Pujara has been driving both sides of the wicket.
Interestingly though, there is good turn on offer. Good shout against Pujara for LBW, but it spun in quite a bit. Time for left-arm leggie, Sandakan for the first time today.
End of the first hour, India 51/1 after 13 overs: Time for drinks at Kotla. The prolific Pujara-Vijay partnership in the middle. A reminder that they average over 70 when batting together.
Milestone alert: Dliruwan Perera’s 100th Test wicket... quicker than Murali!
After 10 overs, INDIA: 42/1 - Breakthrough for Sri Lanka: Well, well. That came out of nowhere, really! Dhawan top-edges a tame sweep to deep fine leg where Suranga ‘no shoe’ Lakmal takes an... interesting catch at fine leg. Dilruwan is laughing. Lakmal is laughing. Even Dhawan has a smile on his face, walking back.
After 7 overs, India 28/0: 24 of the 28 runs have come in boundaries so far as it looks very likely to be a long day in the making for Sri Lanka. Another excellent cover drive by Dhawan, and a bit of a streaky one past third man for Vijay. And 8th over of the day, we have spin in Dilruwan Perera. And Dhawan puts him away for a boundary as well.
Meanwhile in the commentary box...
Murali Karthik: ‘Looks like there is grass on the pitch, but it’s all just a show.’
Hayden: ‘Where are the South African pitches?’
Karthik: ‘Left them in Kolkata!’
After 4 overs, India 17/0: Dhawan gets going with a signature on-the-up, punch-the-ball-hard cover drive for four off Lakmal, who’s been a bit all over the place so far. A maiden from Gamage at the other end, but the lengths are still not consistent – may be a ploy to mix it up early? It would make more sense to keep it full to exploit any minimal help early on. Oh well.
After 2 overs, India 13/0: Two overs into the match and Vijay has three boundaries to his name. Lakmal started the first over with a good shape away from the right hander, and the first boundary was an outside edge to third man. Then a glance to fine leg when the bowler erred. Gamage from the other end, and Vijay plays a shot that might not be bettered today – a majestic straight drive.
All set in Delhi
The national anthems done. A high of 25 degrees expected in Delhi. Should be pleasant conditions for Test cricket. Can Lakmal & Co make use of the wintry chill and that tinge of green to make some early inroads? The local boy Dhawan walks out in half sleeves and the Chennai boy Vijay walks out with full sleeves.
So today it’s Rahul’s turn to sit out. Like we discussed during the second Test, it’s been a curious career for Rahul.
First 19 Test innings: 4 100s, 1 50
Next 13 Test innings: 0 100s, 9 50s
His inability to convert those 50s into 100s went against him perhaps. And Dhawan’s ability to change the match in one good session.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (W), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma.
Sri Lanka: Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dimuth Karunaratne, Roshen Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal (C), Niroshan Dickwella (W), Dhananjaya de Silva, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Lahiru Gamage, Suranga Lakmal
Pitch report and toss:
Sunil Gavaskar says the pitch shouldn’t be too different from a typical Delhi track – there is some grass cover but this is more Nagpur than Kolkata.
Toss: Virat Kohli wins the toss and India will bat first. Two changes: Umesh out, Shami in. Rahul out, Dhawan in. ‘It is what it is,’ says Kohli about a pitch that has a tinge of grass (not really South Africa-green). Sri Lanka make three changes.
08:55 am: Looks like a typical winter morning in Delhi. Hazy and cold, as the players warm up with their winter gear on. The big question facing India is who are the two openers who’ll feature today?
M Vijay spoke about the chemistry between the three contenders on Friday.
“We three are very good friends off the field and that makes it much easier. Definitely, it unsettles (when one is dropped) the opener, who is playing regularly. Obviously, we three share a good rapport outside the field and this will help us big time during the (South Africa) series coming ahead and future.”
08:50 am: Hello and welcome to the live blog of the first day of the final Test between Indian and Sri Lanka. (Yes, it’s almost over!) After a tame (to be kind) display in Nagpur, Dinesh Chandimal and Co look for a spark in Delhi, while India look to wrap the series with a win.
All screenshots courtesy Hotstar