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Dhawan half-century steers India to 115-1 at lunch

27 July 2017

Had things stayed according to Shikhar Dhawan's original plans, he would have been holidaying with his family in Melbourne rather than playing in the opening Test against Sri Lanka which started at Galle on Wednesday.

For Sri Lanka, the challenge here is to get ahead of the game, to somehow find a way to stitch together a performance that allows them to ensure that India can not dominate. We have those options again, but we have great balance in the side as well. Kohli has matured into an astute captain, Sri Lanka on the other hand, have slipped drastically in the Test arena. The Sri Lanka bowlers would surely have preferred that.

Though Pushpakumara, 30, has not played any global cricket yet, he has for always been prolific at the first-class level, where he has 558 first-class wickets at an average of 19.85, and is routinely among the top three wicket-takers in the Premier League Tournament.

In 2015, India succumbed to a 63-run loss on the penultimate day, thanks to a magical seven-wicket haul by veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who will be leading the side in the first Test in the absence of newly-appointed skipper Dinesh Chandimal, down with pneumonia.

At Lunch on Day 1, Shikhar Dhawan had struck a half-century to raise a 88-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara and steered india to 115/1. Virat Kohli was unlucky to have got the faintest of edges to the wicketkeeper, but Pujara and Ajinkya ensured that there was no cause for alarm.

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Hardik Pandya is making his Test debut and accompany Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav to take care of the pace-bowling department as R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be the two spinners in the playing XI. Most probably he will be out for a minimum of four weeks.

"We are pretty humble in our preparations and do the hard yards every game that we play".

Kohli reckoned that it will be a good wicket to bat on. They will back themselves in subcontinental conditions that suit their style of play.

The 45-day long cricket extravaganza will reach a wide Indian, Sri Lankan and global audience cheering for the powerhouses and superstars of the likes of Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga as well as their Indian counterparts like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Ravi Ashwin amongst others. All that was left was for the cast of players on both teams to take the stage and do their bit. "There is a good grass covering and we expect it to be a good batting wicket".

Mukund, who opened the batting after Lokesh Rahul was ruled out with illness, made 12. That gives them a big leg up, and it is that extra experience that is likely to be the difference in the end.

Dhawan half-century steers India to 115-1 at lunch