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India ride Rahul-Dhawan stand to surge ahead


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  • Sri Lanka claim 122-run first innings lead

  • Openers Dhawan and Rahul help India erase deficit

  • Hosts 171-1 at stumps; Herath scores 67 in SL’s 294

 

Kolkata (Reuters): Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul featured in a rollicking 166-run stand to help India erase the 122-run lead they had conceded to Sri Lanka on the penultimate day of the opening test on Sunday.

Dhawan threw away his wicket at 94, but Rahul was unbeaten on 73 when bad light stopped play with the hosts on 171-1.

Cheteshwar Pujara was on two at the other end with India 49 runs ahead with nine wickets in hand, an impressive fightback after being all out for 172 in their first innings.

The hosts had lost the entire top half of their batting order by the time they had accumulated 50 runs in the first innings but Rahul and Dhawan ensured there was no repeat by scoring at nearly four-and-half runs an over.

 



Dhawan was decisive with his footwork against the slow bowlers, which he demonstrated with two sixes off Sri Lanka’s spin spearhead Rangana Herath.

The left-hander also hit 11 boundaries before rushing out to hit Dasun Shanaka before being caught behind.

Rahul was his elegant self at the other end as the right-hander registered his ninth 50-plus score in his last 11 test innings, which included eight crisp boundaries.

Earlier, Sri Lanka were dismissed for 294 in their first innings after number nine batsman Herath top-scored for the tourists with a defiant 67.

Paceman Mohammed Shami, who bowled without success on Saturday, claimed four wickets, including that of overnight batsmen Niroshan Dickwella and Dinesh Chandimal, in a fine display of seam bowling to curb Sri Lanka’s progress.

 



Dilruwan Perera featured in a review drama after being adjudged lbw to Shami.

The batsman appeared to be on his way back to the dressing room when he suddenly turned around to challenge the decision, which was overturned as the point of impact was found to be marginally outside the stumps.

Shami had the last laugh though, as he dismissed Perera caught behind for five.

Conditions on the first two days of the pace-dominated contest meant Herath had a very limited role with the ball and the spinner made his mark with the bat instead, frustrating the hosts with his dogged resistance.

Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who claimed four wickets apiece, combined to dismiss Herath with the former taking the catch after the batsman had sliced Kumar to backward point.

 

 

SL to host India, Bangladesh for T20I tri-series in March

ESPNCricinfo: Sri Lanka will host India and Bangladesh for a T20 tri-series in March 2018 to celebrate the country’s 70th year of independence. 

A Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) release confirmed seven T20Is to be played from 8-20 March at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Each team will play each other twice before the final on 20 March.

Called the Nidahas Trophy, the tri-series will also mark the 70th year for SLC. Board president Thilanga Sumathipala was the visionary behind the Nidahas Trophy in 1998 too, which marked the 50th year of the country’s independence and involved India and New Zealand as the visiting teams. India had won the trophy then which was played as an ODI tri-series.

“We are privileged to be a part of Sri Lanka’s 70th year celebrations, there is no closer friend to the BCCI than Sri Lanka [and Bangladesh] and when Mr. Sumathipala first floated this invitation, there was almost instant agreement that the Indian team would participate for this reason,” said BCCI CEO Rahul Johri.

Sumathipala too expressed his optimism on the relevance of the series: “70 years is a long journey, and one that needs to be commemorated and celebrated. We are happy that our closest neighbours, who share more or less the same journey of independence, are joining us in this celebration, which we believe will be a milestone and an augur of the great things to come in the annals of cricket.”

 

No dressing room help for Perera, says Sri Lanka

AFP: Sri Lanka’s cricket board Sunday defended Dilruwan Perera after television replays suggested the batsman looked to the dressing room during a delayed review call in the first Test against India.

Perera, who was involved in a crucial 43-stand eight-wicket with Rangana Herath, was adjudged leg before wicket on nought but following a successful challenge stayed on for a 34-ball five on day four in Kolkata.

Controversy arose when Perera started to walk away after Mohammed Shami’s in-dipper hit his pads, then began walking back before turning around and requesting a review.

Although the Indian players did not complain, there was speculation - including from television commentators - that he had received advice from the Sri Lankan dressing room.

Players are not allowed to receive outside input while challenging an umpire’s decision.

“Contrary to the assumptions made, there was no ‘message from the dressing room’ involved in the requested review,” Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.

 



“Having mistakenly assumed that Sri Lanka were out of reviews, Dilruwan Perera had turned to leave the field when he heard Rangana Herath inquire from the on-field umpire Nigel Llong if Sri Lanka have any reviews left, to which Mr. Llong answered in the affirmative,” the statement added.

“It was then that Dilruwan requested the review,” it said.

The incident recalled Australian skipper Steve Smith’s infamous “brain fade” moment earlier this year, when he looked up to the dressing room while reviewing an on-field call during the Bangalore Test.

While Smith said it was a one-off that happened in the heat of the action, Indian skipper Virat Kohli accused the Aussies of cheating.

Sri Lanka said their players are “respectful and bounden to uphold the rules and regulations of the ICC (International Cricket Council)”.

Herath, whose defiant 67 helped the visitors take a 122-run first innings lead, backed his teammate after he was drawn into the drama from the non-strikers end.

“I was asking for review (from) umpire Nigel Llong, maybe Dilruwan also heard that and after that he asked for it. I did not call him back, I was asking for a review, that’s all,” said Herath.

Indian paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar played down the incident, saying that his team players were busier celebrating than looking at Perera.

The visitors are seeking their first Test win on Indian soil in the three-match series.

 

We’ll go for win on final day, says Dhawan

AFP: India will push for victory on the final day of the rain-hit first Test against Sri Lanka, Shikhar Dhawan said Sunday after he combined with fellow opener Lokesh Rahul to help the hosts fight back on day four.

The pair hit fluent half-centuries during their  166-run stand as India ended the day on 171-1, leading by 49 after wiping out a 122-run first-innings deficit in Kolkata.

Dhawan was eventually caught behind off paceman Dasun Shanaka for 94. Cheteshwar Pujara, on two, was batting alongside Rahul, on 73, when bad light stopped play.

“Feeling good and bad both. Of course it’s disappointing when you’re so close to the century and miss out. But we’ve made a game of this, so I’m happy,” said Dhawan.

“We’re going to be positive tomorrow and try to make a match of it. We’re going to go for it,” the left-hander added.

Rangana Herath’s 67 had helped steer the visitors to 294 in response to India’s 172.

But Rahul and Dhawan made batting look easy on a sunny afternoon -- a welcome change from the rainy start on the first two days -- to keep the Sri Lankan attack at bay.

The in-form Rahul registered his ninth score of 50-plus in the last 11 innings. He got strong support from Dhawan, who recorded his fourth Test fifty.

The two batsmen smashed 19 boundaries between them, including two sixes from Dhawan, forcing Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal to juggle his bowling options.

Shanaka, with little time left until stumps, denied Dhawan what would have been his seventh Test hundred in his 27th match.



‘Credit to fast bowlers’ 

Earlier Sri Lanka, who started the day on 165-4, suffered a middle-order stutter before Herath starred in stubborn partnerships against a persistent pace attack.

The left-hander, Sri Lanka’s premier spin bowler, showed great resolve during his knock which lasted 105 balls and included nine boundaries.

Herath, who registered his third Test fifty, finally fell to paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar after mistiming and slicing to deep point.

“I wanted to play the shots and stay positive. The credit should go to fast bowlers of both teams. Compared to the first two days, today was much better to bat on and that’s why we were able to go on and take a lead,” Herath told reporters.

“Compared to the first two days of the match, this is a much better wicket to bat on. We have got one more day to go and will see what happens,” the 39-year-old said.

Fast bowler Mohammed Shami dismissed both overnight batsmen, Niroshan Dickwella and Chandimal, to check Sri Lanka’s progress in the morning.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Dickwella, who made 35, and Chandimal, 28, had scored briskly to extend their partnership to 62.

Kumar and Shami claimed four wickets each while third seamer Umesh Yadav chipped in with two.

The visitors are seeking their first Test win on Indian soil in the three-match series.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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