Galle, July 26 (IANS) Shikhar Dhawan missed out on a maiden double century as India took the upper hand, piling on 282/2 at tea on the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka here on Wednesday.
Dhawan smashed the rather ordinary Lankan bowling all around the Galle International Stadium, racing to 190 runs off 168 deliveries with 31 boundaries studding his hurricane innings.
Dhawan finally fell when he tried to smash a Pradeep delivery over mid-off but mistimed his shot and Angelo Mathews pulled off an easy catch.
The Lankan players and the home crowd heaved a collective sigh of relief as a visibly disappointed Dhawan crawled dejectedly back to the pavilion.
Cheteshwar Pujara was also in excellent form and remained unbeaten on 75 at tea. India skipper Virat Kohli was batting on 1 at the other end.
Pacer Nuwan Pradeep was the standout performer among the Lankan bowlers with figures of 2/42. The rest of the Lankan bowling suffered some serious hammering and were made to look rather ordinary.
Earlier, India rode on some excellent batting from Dhawan to post 115/1 at lunch. Dhawan scored a steady 64 off 78 balls by the first break of the day, hitting eight boundaries along the way.
Pujara was batting on 37 at the other end when the teams went in for lunch.
Pacer Dilruwan Perera bagged the only wicket to fall in the morning session in the form of Indian opener Abhinav Mukund.
Mukund fell victim to poor shot selection when he dabbed at a delivery outside the off-stump only to see wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella latch onto the outside edge.
Electing to bat on winning the toss, the visitors were off to a steady start with Dhawan and Mukund handling the Lankan pacers quite comfortably.
The Indian openers were a bit cautious in the opening two overs before Dhawan brought up the first boundary of the innings with a straight drive off pacer Nuwan Pradeep.
The Lankan pacers were unable to trouble the Indians, who continued to bat comfortably, hitting the occasional boundary.
Mukund was struggling a bit, although he hit two boundaries off pacer Lahiru Kumara during his 26-ball stay in the middle. But the left-hander virtually gifted his wicket to Pradeep when he decided to go after a ball which moved away slightly after pitching.
Pujara joined Dhawan and enjoyed some early luck when he edged Pradeep off the second delivery he faced but the ball went for a boundary after landing wide of the slip cordon.
Dhawan however, continued to display excellent form at the other end, finding the fence at regular intervals.
Pujara soon settled his nerves and gave Dhawan excellent support at the other end as the Indians went into the break having grabbed the early advantage.
India: 282/2 (Shikhar Dhawan 190, Cheteshwar Pujara 75 batting; Nuwan Pradeep 2/42) vs Sri Lanka.
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