India off to steady start in first Test

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Galle, July 26 (IANS) India rode on a half-century from opener Shikhar Dhawan to post 115/1 at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka here on Wednesday.

Dhawan scored a steady 64 off 78 balls, hitting eight boundaries along the way.

Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on 37 at the other end when the teams went in for lunch.

Pacer Dilruwan Perera bagged the only wicket to fall in the morning session in the form of Indian opener Abhinav Mukund.

Mukund fell victim to a poor shot selection when he dabbed at a delivery outside the off-stump only to see wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella latch onto the outside edge.

Electing to bat on winning the toss, the visitors were off to a steady start with Dhawan and Mukund handling the Lankan pacers quite comfortably.

The Indian openers were a bit cautious in the opening two overs before Dhawan brought up the first boundary of the innings with a straight drive off pacer Nuwan Pradeep.

The Lankan pacers were unable to trouble the Indians, who continued to bat comfortably, hitting the occasional boundary.

Mukund was struggling a bit, although he hit two boundaries off pacer Lahiru Kumara during his 26-ball stay in the middle. But the left-hander virtually gifted his wicket to Pradeep when he decided to go after a ball which moved away slightly after pitching.

Pujara joined Dhawan and enjoyed some early luck when he edged Pradeep off the second ball he faced but the ball went for a boundary after landing wide of the slip cordon.

Dhawan however, continued to display excellent form at the other end, finding the fence at regular occasions.

Pujara soon settled his nerves and gave Dhawan excellent support at the other end as the Indians went into the break having grabbed the early advantage.

Brief scores:

India: 115/1 (Shikhar Dhawan 64 batting, Cheteshwar Pujara 37 batting; Nuwan Pradeep 1/22) vs Sri Lanka.

–IANS

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