Colombo, (PTI) Opener Lokesh Rahul scored an unbeaten 52 on his comeback as India reached 101 for one at lunch on the opening day of the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka here today.
Rahul, who missed the opening Test due to viral fever, put on 56 runs with opener Shikhar Dhawan (35) and then added another 45 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara (14 not out).
Dhawan and Rahul started with aplomb as Sri Lanka opened the bowling with Nuwan Pradeep (0-31) and then deployed spin in the form of Rangana Herath (0-36) from the other end.
Later, Dimuth Karunaratne (0-10) came on to bowl his slow medium pace and surprised everyone, including the batsmen.
Dhawan was lucky twice as his edges fell short of slips in consecutive overs, off both Pradeep and Herath.
He didn't waste time against the spinner though and hit him for six in only the second over of the match as the wicket turned out to be a true batting beauty.
India were already scoring at a fast clip and the duo brought up their opening 50-run stand off just 52 balls.
Rahul survived a review for LBW in the 10th over against Karunaratne as the ball appeared to be going down leg side.
Umpire Bruce Oxenford had to reverse his decision.
However, in the very next over, Lanka benefited from DRS as well as the appeal against Dhawan was overturned too. The left-hander was out lbw to Dilruwan Perera (1-11). He faced 37 balls and hit 5 fours and a six.
The Karnataka opener then survived a close stumping call off Herath shortly before lunch. In between he played some sparkling strokes and reached his 8th Test half-century off 72 balls, inclusive of 7 fours.
It was the sixth successive fifty for Rahul in Test cricket, and he joined the likes of illustrious compatriots Gundappa Viswanath and Rahul Dravid in achieving this feat.
Thereafter, Rahul and Pujara made sure India crossed the 100-mark before lunch without any further hiccups.
Earlier, India won the toss and opted to bat. The visitors made one change, with Abhinav Mukund making way for Rahul.
Sri Lanka made three changes to their playing eleven from Galle with Dinesh Chandimal returning to take over the reins, while Dhananjay de Silva was also included in the side.
The duo came in place of Asela Gunaratne and Dhanushka Gunathilaka. Malinda Pushpakumara was handed his Test debut and was picked ahead of Lahiru Kumara as the hosts opted for a three-spin attack on a dry-looking wicket.
India lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Galle by 304 runs.
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