Galle: Shikhar Dhawan struck a half-century and raised a 88-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara to steer India to a comfortable 115 for one at lunch on the opening day of the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka, here today.
Dhawan, who was dropped on 31, was batting on 64 while Pujara was giving him company at 37 as the duo milked the opposition bowling after India elected to bat.
Dhawan opened the innings with Abhinav Mukund (12) and the two batsmen got off the blocks very quickly. Despite a sprinkling of green on the Galle pitch, pacers Nuwan Pradeep (1/22) and Lahiru Kumara could not make optimal use of the new ball.
The opening duo scored at will as they rotated strike with ease.
With a great batting track available, Mukund wasted a golden opportunity for a big score as he edged behind off Pradeep in the eighth over.
Earlier, spin was introduced in the seventh over but it was not stand-in skipper Rangana Herath who came on to bowl.
Instead, off-break bowler Dilruwan Perera was introduced into the attack.
He did not make any impact on Dhawan or his new partner as Pujara also made a positive start to his innings. The pair looked to attack against spin but after a few misses settled down to form a steady partnership.
They put on 50 runs off only 60 balls. Earlier India’s 50-mark had come up in the 14th over.
Dhawan was given a life as Asela Gunaratne dropped him at second slip off Lahiru Kumar in the same over. He was on 31 not out at that time and went on to score his fourth half- century off 62 balls with four shots to the fence.
Herath (0/22) finally came on to bowl in the 19th over, but the batsmen had an easy time until lunch, bringing up India s 100-mark in the 25th over. Thus far, it proved to be a trouble-free morning for the no.1 ranked Test side.