Patient Pujara steers India to 238-3 at tea

  • India lose Rahul, Kohli after lunch
  • Pujara, Rahane feature in century stand

COLOMBO: Cheteshwar Pujara featured in a burgeoning century-plus partnership with Ajinkya Rahane to help India overcome a second session wobble and reach 238 for three at tea on the opening day of the second test against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Pujara was batting on 88, having completed 4000 runs in his 50th test, with Rahane on 39 at the other end with the right-handers adding 105 runs to consolidate India's position in the post-lunch session.

India got off to a brisk start after skipper Virat Kohli opted to bat on a dry surface and the early spin suggested batting in the fourth innings would be a daunting task at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground.

A fit-again KL Rahul, who missed India's victory in Galle with high-fever, and Shikhar Dhawan, whose 190 in the first innings set up their win in the series opener, scored freely against a spin-heavy Sri Lankan attack.

Dhawan stepped out to clobber Rangana Herath for a six in the spinner's first over and also hit five boundaries in his brisk 37-ball 35 before getting out leg before to a Dilruwan Perera delivery.

Umpire Rod Tucker initially turned down the appeal but the Sri Lankans reviewed the decision to send Dhawan back.

Rahul was on 19 when the right-hander was given out leg before to Dimuth Karunaratne but the batsman used a review to successfully overturn the decision and went on to make his sixth successive test half-century.

As on the last five occasions, the opener once again failed to convert it into a hundred, being run out for 57 after a mix-up with Pujara.

Skipper Virat Kohli joined him back in the hut soon, trying to cut Herath and Angelo Mathews took a stunning catch in the slip to reduce India to 133-3.

Pujara initially looked ill at ease against the turning ball but scored more freely once he found his feet. After bringing up his 16th test fifty, the otherwise dour batsman even pulled debutant spinner Malinda Pushpakumara for a six over mid-wicket.

Rahane hit five boundaries in his composed knock.