It was Hardik Pandya’s day. Batting, bowling and fielding, he was everywhere and was chief wrecker for Sri Lanka who were trying to keep India under control after a spirited fightback in the latter stage of the opening day.
Day 2, though, was Pandya’s. The all-rounder smashed his first-ever Test century leading India to mammoth first innings total of 487. He shared a fine knock of 108 that included eight boundaries and seven sixes. He was part of a crucial 62-run stand with Kuldeep Yadav (26) that set the base for India’s fine show. He later shared a 66-run stand with tailender Umesh Yadav, scoring 63 runs in the partnership.
Chasing 487, Sri Lanka struggled from the get go as pacer Mohammed Shami removed both openers in a fiery spell. Kuldeep returned to raise havoc with the ball and picked up four scalps and effected a fantastic run-out. Pandya also picked up a wicket as India bowled out the oppostion for 135. With Sri Lanka trailing by 352 runs, India enforced the follow-on.
Umesh Yadav helped India tighten the screws further by removing Tharanga late in the day as Sri Lanka went into stumps at 19/1. They still trail by 333 runs.
As it happened:
5.33pm: At stumps, Sri Lanka 19/1. They still trail by 333 runs. It was a long day for Sri Lanka. First, it was Hardik Pandya who dominated them. Later, it was the India bowlers who laid into them. They have a mountain to climb when play resumes on Day 3. It is not a matter of if, but when for India as they look to complete a 3-0 whitewash in the series.
5.25pm: WICKET! Umesh Yadav has Upul Tharanga bowled late in the day. Chasing a ball pitched away from the stumps, Tharanga edges is it back onto the stumps. Sri Lanka 15/1. They face steep task of whittling down 337-run deficit.
5.10pm: Four maidens in a row now by India. Sri Lanka have been stranded on 10/0. Shami and Ashwin bowling well in tandem. Karunaratne and Tharanga struggling to keep the scoreboard ticking.
5.04pm: Sri Lanka 10/0. They still trail by 342 runs. Both openers applying themselves better this time around. Using a solid defence. Unlike their first essay, they have not gone chasing behind the ball and are waiting for the right delivery to sneak in the runs.
4.50pm: Sri Lanka 6/0 after the first over of their second innings. Shami is back at the popping crease and getting the ball to swing sharply. Another tough spell for Sri Lanka to get through. Another 14 overs left in the day.
4.37pm: WICKET! Sri Lanka have been bowled out for 135. India enforce follow-on.
Sandakan is the last man to depart off Ashwin. It was a disappointing effort from the hosts. India enjoyed themselves on the field and will continue to do that as Sri Lanka begin their second innings shortly. They trail India by 352 runs.
4.34pm: WICKET! Kuldeep picks up wicket No 4. Fernando is bowled for a duck. Sri Lanka 135/9.
Another delivery is tossed up. Fernando takes a swing at it and misses. Kuldeep needs one more wicket to pick up his first ever five-wicket haul.
4.16pm: WICKET! Kuldeep gets his third. Pushpakumara departs for 8. Sri Lanka 125/8.
Sri Lanka are in shambles. None of the batsmen have applied themselves on a wicket which does not seem to have too many demons. Pushpakumara lazily steps down the track and misses the ball completely.
4.10pm: WICKET! Chandimal falls for 48. Ashwin gets his first wicket. Sri Lanka 125/7.
The batsman tries to flick the ball, but he doesn’t time it well and gets an inside edge. It goes straight to KL Rahul at leg slip.
4.00pm: Sri Lanka 118/6 (Chandimal 45*, Pushpakumara 6*).
Chandimal looking to keep the strike to himself here. Is refusing singles and trying to bat his way out the hole Sri Lanka have dug themselves in.
3.40pm: WICKET! Kuldeep gets his second. Perera tries to take the aerial route. Holes it straight to Pandya at deep midwicket on zero. Sri Lanka 108/6.
3.36pm: Umesh Yadav was hobbled off the field with what looks like a strain on his knee. He ran up to bowl, but pulled out at the last minute. Had taken a bad fall while trying to save a boundary a few overs before.
3.30pm: WICKET! Dickwella is stumped off Kuldeep Yadav. Saha makes no mistake behind the stumps. The 63-run stand between Chandimal and Dickwella ends as Sri Lanka struggle at 101/5.
3.28pm: 100 up for Sri Lanka. Chandimal faced a lot of flak for his captaincy but has batted well with good support from Dickwella. Sri Lanka 101/4.
3.20pm: 50-run stand between Chandimal and Dickwella. The duo have stitched together a crucial partnership for the fifth wicket. The two have gone after the bowling in the past couple of overs. Chandimal smashed three boundaries off a Kuldeep Yadav over. Sri Lanka 87/4 (Chandimal 31*, Dickwella 22*).
3.05pm: Sri Lanka resume their innings after tea. Dickwella and Chandimal begin on back foot. Kuldeep Yadav has them guessing though the first over after the break.
2.41pm: At tea, Sri Lanka 61/4, 426 runs behind India. After posting 487, it did not take long for India to send the opposition’s top-order packing. Shami was in fine form, Pandya returned to take a scalp as did Kuldeep Yadav, who effected a dramatic run-out.
2.35pm: 50 up for Sri Lanka. Chandimal and Dickwella are batting at the moment. They are doing so precariously as India go for the kill. Kohli is choking the hosts for runs and adding pressure with attacking fields for both batsmen.
2.18pm: WICKET! Hardik Pandya is back and strikes with the ball. He traps Mathews in front of the wicket. No review from the hosts this time. Fourth wicket down for the hosts. It is just getting bad to worse. Sri Lanka 38/4.
2.13pm: WICKET! Kusal Mendis is run-out in bizarre fashion. Ashwin pulled a fine dive to stop a boundary, his throw towards the stumps, though, was wild. Kuldeep backing up, put in a quickfire pick up and release. Tremendous stuff. Sri Lanka 38/3.
1.53pm: WICKET! Shami strikes again! This time gets Karunaratne to edge one to the keeper. Shami is bowling a fiery spell. He is getting some swing and is bowling a perfect line and length. Both his wickets came from deliveries that were pitch outside off. They did just enough to get the batsman miss the line. Sri Lanka 23/2.
1.41pm: WICKET! Shami strikes. Gets Tharanga to edge one to the keeper. The Sri Lankan opener asks for a review, but it goes against him. Sri Lanka 14/1.
1.27pm: Sri Lanka begin their innings gingerly. Tharanga and Karunaratne fend off a fiery opening over from Shami. Sri Lanka 3/0.
1.14pm: WICKET immediately after Lunch! Pandya does not add to his score. Holes out for 108. India 487 all out. Pandya looks to get the big runs flowing in the first over after the break, but fails. Sandakan picks up his fifth wicket.
1.09pm: Pandya’s feat has created quite a buzz on social media. Here’s how Twitter’s reacting to the swashbuckling effort by the all-rounder.
12.33pm: At Lunch, India 487/9 (Pandya 108*, Umesh 3*).
Hardik Pandya batted like a man possessed. He worked hard and grinded it out in the initial. He took his time and then let it rip. His knock of 108* off 93 balls included eight boundaries and seven sixes. That the ton came in the company of tail-enders only makes the knock special.
The effort has helped India to a huge total once again. Sri Lanka have themselves to blame. Skipper Chandimal persisted with pace for nearly an hour in the morning, despite the conditions suiting spin. The spell helped Pandya to settle down along with Kuldeep Yadav.
12.22pm: 100 up for Hardik Pandya. This is his first-ever century in Test cricket. It has been a fine effort from the all-rounder. He has batted well with the tail in the morning session on Day 2. This is also his first ton in first-class cricket. He brings it up in only his third Test. India 485/9. Pandya 107* (87 balls, 8 fours, 7 sixes)
12.05pm: India move past 450. Hardik on fire. He is smashing everything. 4-4-6-6-6-0 off Pushpakumara. 26 runs off that over! He is now unbeaten on 83 off 70 balls.
11.53am: WICKET! Shami departs. He is caught and bowled by Sandakan. India 421/9. Pandya still unbeaten on 50.
11.50am: Fifty for Hardik Pandya. His second in Test cricket. The all-rounder has batted brilliantly today. Has looked impressive with both bat and ball in this series. Skipper Virat Kohli will be mighty pleased with his effort.
11.40am: WICKET! Kuldeep Yadav’s patient knock comes to an end on 26 (73). Kuldeep edges the ball off Sandakan. He batted well to support Pandya. The duo’s 54-run stand has proved quite valuable in the context of the game. India 403/8. (Pandya 39*).
11.36am: 400 up for India. They have now scored a 400-plus score in all the three Tests of this series. (Pandya 38*, Kuldeep 26*).
11.30am: Pandya and Kuldeep have now added 50 runs for the eighth wicket. The duo have batted brilliantly so far. They have been aided by some laid-back bowling from Sri Lanka, who have preferred to sit back and let the lower-order batsmen settle down. India 397/7 (Pandya 34*, Kuldeep 26*).
11.11am: Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal introduces spin for the first times on Day 2. Sundakan comes into the attack and immediately gets a huge appeal in for LBW off Kuldeep. Spin should have been brought in earlier. But, better late than never? India 378/7 (Pandya 25*, Kuldeep 17*).
10.55am: India have weathered the storm well after Saha’s early dismissal. Sri Lanka are also guilty of letting the game drift a bit as the visitors march towards a big total. India 374/7 (Pandya 22*, Kuldeep 16*).
10.42am: Vishwa Fernando has his tail up. After dismissing Saha, he’s now keeping Pandya and Kuldeep on their toes. He’s swinging the ball well and asking tricky questions from both batsmen. The ball has now rapped the pads a few times and went past the outside edge more than once. India 360/7.
10.25am: 350 up for India. Pandya, Kuldeep keep the scoreboard ticking after Saha’s early exit. Incidentally, both batsmen are India’s most recent Test cricketers. This is Pandya’s third Test, while its Kuldeep’s second. India 353/7.
10.13am: WICKET! Saha falls on 16. Fernando gets Saha to cut one straight to gully. The ball was pitched outside off. The ball, though, hit the top-half of the bat as it went straight to the fielder. India 341/7.
10.05am: This is Hardik Pandya’s first real test in the longest format in his nascent career. The all-rounder never before come into bat in such a situation. A few early wickets here could put Sri Lanka in the driver’s seat, unless the India’s lower-order hangs in there.
9.55am: Players from both sides are going through the last-minute drills before taking the field. India face a tricky task of posting a big total. The wicket doesn’t have much for the bowlers, but Sri lanka have done well to keep their opponents in check. India’s lower order led by Hardik Pandya and Wriddhiman Saha will have to soak the pressure and put some runs on the board. India resume on 329/6.