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India vs Sri Lanka 2017: Centurions Murali Vijay & Cheteshwar Pujara Put Hosts in Command

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: November 25, 2017, 6:39 PM IST
India vs Sri Lanka 2017: Centurions Murali Vijay & Cheteshwar Pujara Put Hosts in Command

Cheteshwar Pujara & Murali Vijay shake hands after putting on a century stand on the second day of the second Test in Nagpur . (AP Image)

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Nagpur: Star batsmen Murali Vijay (128) and Cheteshwar Pujara (121*) slammed respective centuries, while skipper Virat Kohli (54*) also hit an unbeaten half-century as India took a healthy lead of 107 runs in the first innings at stumps on day 2 of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur on Saturday.

Starting at overnight score of 11/1, Vijay made his intentions clear as he hit a boundary on the first ball of the day itself, off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal. Following that, Vijay and Pujara took a cautious approach and started to build the Indian innings.

The duo opted to wear out the Lankan bowlers in the first session and hit the occasional boundaries to keep the scoreboard ticking. Vijay was given his first lifeline in the innings when Sadeera Samarawickrama dropped a tough catch at forward short leg — off the bowling of Rangana Herath — while he was batting on 19. Even after dropping the catch, Sadeera had another chance to dismiss Vijay as the right-hander was out of his crease and the fielder took a shy at the stumps but missed by a long way.

From there on, both Vijay and Pujara kept the Lankan bowlers at bay with their stunning defensive batting display. Vijay then changed gears and hit few boundaries enroute his half-century, few overs before lunch.

The hosts crossed the 100-run mark in the innings shortly after the break and at this point, Vijay and Pujara were in full control of the innings. Vijay was then handed a second lifeline in the match when he was dropped by Dilruwan Perera at short mid-on — off the bowling off Lahiru Gamage — while he was batting on 61.

Vijay made full use of these chances and played the role of the aggressor as the duo brought up their 100-run partnership as well. Pujara then reached his half-century as well in the second session.

The visitors threw everything at Vijay and Pujara but they were batting on a different level altogether. Even the Decision Review System (DRS) couldn't come to their aid as in the 58th over of the innings, Dinesh Chandimal opted to use review, when the ball had missed the outside edge of Vijay's bat by a huge margin, while he was batting on 94.

Vijay then reached his 10th Test hundred in stunning style off 187 deliveries just before Tea. India were in cruise control of the match at the end of second session, as they were just 20 runs behind the Lankan first innings score — with Vijay batting on 106 and Pujara on 71.

The final session of the day started on a bad note for the visitors as Vijay hit the ball straight into the ribs of Samarawickrama — who was fielding at forward short leg — and he had to go off the pitch.

The hosts finally surpassed the Lankan score on the penultimate ball of the 73rd over. And in the next over, the duo also brought up their 200-run stand in the innings, their third in the longest format of the game.

Herath finally provided the visitors with their first breakthrough of the day when he got rid of Vijay for 128. The right-hander tried to sweep the ball but it took a thick edge and the Perera took an easy catch at short fine leg.

Skipper Virat Kohli then joined Pujara in the middle and the duo stretched India's lead further. Kohli brought his Eden Gardens form in this innings as well, as he started to deal in boundaries right from the word go.

It was then Pujara's time to raise his bat to acknowledge the support of the crowd as he completed his 14th Test ton (4th versus Sri Lanka). Pujara and Kohli then kept the scoreboard ticking with some excellent batting display to increase India's lead further.

Kohli then notched up his 15th Test fifty off 66 deliveries as the hosts ended the second day at 312/2 to take a commanding lead in the first innings.
First Published: November 25, 2017, 4:57 PM IST
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