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India vs Sri Lanka 2017: Hardik Pandya Blitzkrieg-Bowlers Put Visitors Firmly on Top on Day 2

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: August 13, 2017, 7:06 PM IST
India vs Sri Lanka 2017: Hardik Pandya Blitzkrieg-Bowlers Put Visitors Firmly on Top on Day 2

Indian cricketer Kuldeep Yadav (2L) celebrates with his teammates after he dismissed Sri Lankan cricketer Vishwa Fernando during the second day of the third and final Test match between Sri Lanka and India at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. (Getty Images)

Kandy: India produced a scintillating all-round display against a hapless Sri Lankan outfit on the second day of the third Test in Pallekele that has firmly put them in a commanding position to complete a 3-0 whitewash of the Islanders.

Indian bowlers were once again on fire as they took 11 Lanka wickets in the day as Dinesh Chandimal's men trail by 333 run at Stumps after Virat Kohli decided to enforce the follow-on.

After dismissing India for 487 in the first innings, Sri Lankan batsmen were blown away by the pace of Mohammed Shami early on in the innings, as the seamer got rid of both their openers in quick time. In just the third over of the innings, Shami produced an outside edge of the bat of Upul Tharanga and wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha took an easy catch.

In his next over, Shami bowled an identical delivery to Dimuth Karunaratne and he too poked at the ball outside the off-stump and ended up giving an easy catch to the wicket-keeper.

Reeling at 23/2, Kusal Mendis tried to steady the ship along with skipper Dinesh Chandimal. But Mendis' innings was cut short comical run-out, courtesy of Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav's combine brilliance. Ashwin first made a stunning dive to stop the ball square of mid-on and when he threw the ball towards the non-strikers end to dismiss Mendis who was out of his crease, Shami could not gather the ball as it was way wide of him. Shami put his head down in disappointment but Kuldeep showed brilliant presence of mind to affect a direct hit.

In the next over, Pandya got rid of Angelo Mathews as the hosts went into tea, struggling at 61/4.

Following the break, skipper Chandimal tried to stay positive and hit few boundaries to relive some of the pressure. But Kuldeep wasn't having any of it as he removed Niroshan Dickwella for 29. With that, the 63-run stand between him and Chandimal also came to an end.

Dilruwan Perera became Kuldeep's second scalp of the day as he hit a short ball straight into the hands of Pandya, who was fielding at mid-wicket. Chandimal's resistance was finally broken by Ashwin as he scalped the wicket of the Lankan skipper for 48.

The final three wickets fell inside a span of 10 runs and the hosts conceded a first innings lead of 352 runs. Kuldeep Yadav starring with a four-wicket haul, while Shami and Ashwin picked up two wicket each.

Sri Lanka were all-out for a paltry 135 runs, which is their lowest total in the first innings against India at home. While they faced just 37.4 overs in the entire innings, which is also the fewest overs faced by Sri Lanka against India in a completed innings in the longest format of the game.

Skipper Virat Kohli decided to enforce the follow-on after his bowlers produced a magical display as India went for the kill. After a cautious start in the second innings, Upul Tharanga once again lost his wicket cheaply as he was castled by Umesh Yadav for 7.

Karunaratne and night-watchman Pushpakumara then ensured that the hosts went till stumps on Day 2 without any more hiccups.

Batting at overnight score of 329/6, India didn't have the best of starts as Vishwa Fernando got rid of Wridhhiman Saha (16) early on in the day. That brought young Kuldeep Yadav to the crease, and he along with Hardik Pandya started to build the innings further.

The duo put on 62 runs for the eighth wicket and also took the Indian score past the 400-run mark. Sandakan finally provided the breakthrough to the hosts as dismissed Kuldeep for 26.

Pandya sensed that he is slowly running out of partners on the other end and he upped the ante in a blink of an eye. First, he slammed a four and six to reach his second Test half-century. But what happened next was complete annihilation of the Lankan bowling line-up.

Following Shami's dismissal Pandya started to hit boundaries as will and broken multiple record in the process. At the start of the 116th over of the innings, India's score read 430/9 but after Puspakumara bowled six deliveries, Pandya had taken the visitors' total to 456/9. 4,4,6,6,6,0 — this is how Pandya bludgeoned 26 runs in this particular over.

The right-hander continued the onslaught and reached his maiden century off just 86 deliveries and by doing so, he became the fourth fastest Indian (tied with Kapil Dev) to score a ton in Test cricket. The all-rounder is now behind only to the likes of Mohammad Azharuddin (74 balls), Kapil Dev (74 balls), Virender Sehwag (78 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (85 balls).

During the course of his stunning innings, Pandya smashed seven huge sixes as well. By doing so, he now stands second in the list of most number of sixes hit by an Indian in a Test innings. Only Navjot Singh Sidhu (8 sixes) is ahead of Pandya now in this elite list.

Pandya's innings finally came to an end on the second ball after lunch when he was caught out in the deep off the bowling of Sandakan, who ended the innings with a five-wicket haul.

First Published: August 13, 2017, 5:38 PM IST

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