Kolkata: Suranga Lakmal bowled a scintillating spell of pace bowling to leave India reeling on a rain-marred opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. Only 11.3 overs could be bowled on the first day of the Test as bad light forced the officials to call for early stumps, after Lakmal had taken apart the Indian top-order without conceding a single run.
The entire first session was washed out and the toss could take place only at 1 pm, after early lunch was taken by the officials. The visitors put India to bat first after winning the toss in overcast conditions. Lankan pace spearhead Lakmal made full use of the conditions and removed India opener KL Rahul on the first ball of the innings itself.
Rahul became only the third batsman ever to be dismissed for a golden duck at this venue after he edged the ball straight into the hands of wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella. The other two batsmen on this unwanted list are Sudhir Naik and Sunil Gavaskar. Woorkeri Raman, Shiv Sunder Das and Wasim Jaffer are the other Indian batsmen to be dismissed on the first ball off a Test match, but at different venues.
Then, Mr. dependable Cheteshwar Pujara took charge of the innings at one end while Shikhar Dhawan was itching to free his arms on the other. However, Dhawan paid for his impatience dearly as an expansive drive off the bowling of Lakmal in the seventh over of the innings cost him his wicket. The ball hit the inside edge of Dhawan's bat and rattled his stumps when he was batting on 8.
Early tea was taken in the day as bad light once again interrupted the match with India struggling at 17/2 after 8 overs. Play resumed with Kohli and Pujara looking to bail the hosts out of trouble with both Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage chipping away with out-swingers.
However, India were dealt a third blow when a Lakmal delivery thudded into the pads of Kohli on the first ball of the eleventh over. Pujara told something to Kohli and the Indian skipper opted for the DRS. However, replays showed that the ball was hitting the leg-stump and Kohli had to return without opening his account. This is only the sixth time (second as captain) in his career that Kohli has been dismissed for a duck in Tests.
Couple of overs later, Pujara signalled to the umpires that he was not able to see the ball properly and after a brief chat between the two umpires, the match was stopped again. The light deteriorated further and play was called off for the day.
At stumps, India's score read 17/3 in 11.3 overs. The star of the day clearly was Suranga Lakmal who ended with figures of 0/3 in 6 overs. Only once before, such a thing has ever happened, when Richie Benaud took the last three wickets against India in the Delhi Test in 1959 to end with figures of 0/3 in 3.4 overs.