Kuldeep Yadav roped in as India opt to bat : Pallekele Test

Electing to bat, India reached 134 for no loss at lunch on the opening day of the third and final cricket Test against Sri Lanka, here today. For the hosts, Pushpakumara (3/40) and Sandakan (2/84) were the pick of the bowlers.

In the third session, skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane took the Indian inning forward. India has already won the three match series by clinching terrific victories in the first two Test matches. We are 0-2 down now but still we are really good team. Lakshan Sandakan, the second chinaman bowler in the contest apart from India's Kuldeep Yadav, bowled two overs and gave away eight runs.

India won the toss and chose to bat first.

Herath strained his back and following the advice of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Medical Unit was deemed unavailable for selection, also considering the large workload he has undertaken in recent Tests. Wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav impressed in playing all five matches against the West Indies in June and July, while Test stars Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - India's main spin options at the Champions Trophy - played just three and two games respectively against the Windies.

Rahul was Pushpakumara's first victim, as similar to the reprieve he had got in the first session, the opener came down the track - a bit too much - to a flighted delivery and mistimed the shot to a diving Karunartne at mid-on to depart for 85.

Rahul was forced to miss Galle Test due to illness, but he returned to the side in Colombo and made an immediate impact with a half-century, before he was run-out by Cheteshwar Pujara. India's score read 219/2 as Kohli walked into the crease. "Those are batting now are capable of scoring big runs and it's a wicket where it is not spinning but it doesn't have bounce, so it's not easy to score runs out there and even outfield is not that quick", Dhawan said at the end of the day. "He turned the game around for us so he has ability, which is very rare to find", Kohli said of the young spinner who made an impressive debut against Australia in March. It's different from the two wickets we saw in the first two Tests.

As things stand, not Sri Lanka but rain stands in India's path as they seek history. Under Mohammed Azaharuddin they did it twice - against England (3-0 in 199) and against Sri Lanka (3-0 in 1994).

Team India is now in Sri Lanka for the three Tests, five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and one-off T20I.

  • Julie Sanders