Kolkata, Nov 20 (IANS) Sri Lanka were reeling at 8/2 chasing 231 for victory at tea on the final day of the opening Test against India at the Eden Gardens here on Monday.
India skipper Virat Kohli brought up his 50th international hundred to declare at 352/8 in the second innings after the hosts were struggling in the first session courtesy Suranga Lakmal’s devastating spell of swing bowling.
This was Kohli’s 18th Test hundred and 11th as captain. Kohli, who notched up his first century at the Eden Gardens, hit 12 fours and three sixes milking all the bowlers around the park with equal severity.
He held fort at one end and ensured India could try and force a result in their favour by bowling the tourists out in the third and final session of the match.
With the ton, Kohli equalised little master Sunil Gavaskar’s record of 11 centuries as skipper.
For Sri Lanka, Lakmal (3/93) and Dasun Shanaka (3/76) were the pick of the bowlers.
Kohli was circumspect with Lakmal, who took his wicket in the first innings, initially before hitting the same bowler for a six to bring up his ton.
The right-hander, rated one of the best batters in the world, was given out lbw when he was batting on 72 off a Lakmal delivery but he asked for a review which showed bat first.
At the other end, Ravichandran Ashwin (7), Wriddhiman Saha (5) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (8) could not add much to the total.
Shanaka accounted for Ashwin and Saha while Lahiru Gamage (1/97) packed Bhuvneshwar back to the hut.
Earlier, Lakmal took three wickets to blunt India’s surge but Kohli helped the hosts post 251/5 at lunch.
Resuming on an overnight score of 171/1 with Lokesh Rahul batting on 73 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 2, the hosts did not start brightly owing to Lakmal’s devastating spell (8-2-19-3).
The hero of Sri Lanka’s first innings, he returned best figures of 4/26, sent both Rahul (79 off 125; 8×4), Pujara (22 off 51; 3×4) and Ajinkya Rahane (0) packing.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan missed out on a 100 by six runs (94 off 116; 11×4, 2×6) on day three. The southpaw’s wicket was taken by Dasun Shanaka.
Rahul once again failed to convert his start into a big score, the seventh time in nine innings he has been guilty of doing so, when an in-dipping Lakmal delivery knocked off his middle stump.
The overnight second-wicket stand was of 26 runs.
In came Kohli and alongwith Pujara, who achieved a rare feat by becoming only the third Indian cricketer, after head coach Ravi Shastri and M.L. Jaisimha to have batted on all five days of a Test match, the pair tried to forge a third wicket partnership but failed.
Brief scores: India 172 & 352/8 dec. (Virat Kohli 104 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 94, Lokesh Rahul 79; Suranga Lakmal 3/93) vs Sri Lanka 294 & 8/2
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