Dhawan half-century steers India to 115-1 at lunch

Dhawan half-century steers India to 115-1 at lunch

But, Shikhar Dhawan and Chesteshwar Pujara dashed all their hopes and ensured that India dominated the first day's play of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Only a rash stroke would have produced a wicket, and Dhawan obliged to give the hosts some respite, but their worries were still far from over with Kohli now at the crease. Where India's cricketers have reached peak efficiency by denying themselves their favourite foods and training as though their sculpted bodies are permanently on display, Sri Lanka are led by a man with a weakness for cheese and a slightly rotund, nearly roly-poly build that would suit a baker or a banker more than a bowler. Virat Kohli has been unbeaten after 7-series as the test captain. A stadium which has given nightmares to Indian cricketers time-to-time, it was a losing Indian side in front of Muttiah Muralitharan when he claimed his 800-wickets in his last test match at the same ground.

It is a huge blow to Sri Lanka which is already missing the services of batting mainstay Dinesh Chandimal, who was ruled out with pneumonia.

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The 30-year-old is now ranked second on the International Cricket Council Test rankings and reflected on his performance in that series where he took 21 wickets in three Tests including a 10-wicket haul in the first Test at the same venue.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli didn't plan on taking rankings into account, despite Sri Lanka's slide down the order. Sri Lanka, however, is always formidable in its own backyard even though it is somewhat of a pale shadow of the team that surged forward when populated by the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan.

The Indians got an early jolt when Dhawan's opening partner Abhinav Mukund edged Pradeep behind to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella in the eighth over.

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The captain added: "I think we have built a really good base for us as a team to be able to do that consistently over the next few years".

Hardik Pandya is making his Test debut and accompany Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav to take care of the pace-bowling department as R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be the two spinners in the playing XI.

"Last time, we felt we probably were a batsman short and the fifth bowler did not do much in the game". Every game that he plays, on any surface, he has a knack of picking wickets. We bowled on both sides of the wicket as well. He has been replaced by Shikhar Dhawan. If India are expecting mystique and trickery, they will be caught off guard; if they make the mistake of conflating this lack of aura to ordinariness, they will be in for a surprise, if not a rude shock. India possesses one of the best bowling attacks in the world, and it could easily make things hard for the Lankans early on if they bat, who don't possess too much experience or confidence given recent results. "We surely want to start well in this series which we could not do last time".

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