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India vs Sri Lanka | Talking points from Day 2 of the second Test

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India vs Sri Lanka | Talking points from Day 2 of the second Test

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SportsCafe Desk


After Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 209-run stand helped India overcome Sri Lanka’s lead without any trouble, Virat Kohli’s quick 54 helped India end the day with a 107-run lead. The Sri Lankan bowlers failed to make any impression whatsoever as they claimed just one wicket on the second day.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 205/10 (Dinesh Chandimal 57, Dimuth Karunaratne 51; R Ashwin 4/67, R Jadeja 3/56) trail India 312/2 (Murali Vijay 128, Cheteshwar Pujara 121* ; P Gamage 1/47, Rangana Herath 1/45) by 107 runs.

Pujara-Vijay impress again

Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay proved, once again, why Team India can rely on them in the longest format of the game. Both players know how important it is to play a patience knock to lay a solid foundation for the middle order to exploit later on since they are not active in other formats and concentrate only on Test cricket.

Today, Pujara and Vijay guided India to a strong position after losing KL Rahul’s wicket yesterday. Vijay, who played his last Test against Australia in Dharamsala this year, started his innings at a slow pace but once the ball got older he started playing his shots and scoring at a faster rate. Vijay’s support allowed Pujara to bat according to his own style and in no time the Indian duo had added 209 runs for the second wicket before Rangana Herath got the scalp of Vijay who scored 128 runs.

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, the Vijay-Pujara pair has been one of the best partnerships for India. The 209-run stand, which they achieved on second day of the Nagpur Test, is their fourth century partnership in a row and fifth in their last seven innings. The duo leads the list for the most number of century stands for the second wicket among Indian pairs in Tests ahead of Mohinder Amarnath-Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag.

Second day sees a baked flat pitch in Nagpur

After some nervy moments early in the day, India were back to their comfy, homely atmosphere with both Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara treating the Sri Lankan bowlers like amateur cricketers. All the talk of South African conditions vanished into thin air as India roared on a typical sub-continent strip with the predictable Sri Lankan bowlers getting grinded repeatedly. The only time Sri Lankan bowlers looked lethal were at the beginning of both the sessions, but the most they could do was force the batsmen to defend - a challenge both Pujara and Vijay gladly accepted.

Ravindra Jadeja had stated that he and Ashwin played a supporting role for the fast bowlers during Sri Lanka’s first innings, but it seems they will be in the driving seat now. Though the pitch showed signs of reverse swing in the mid-afternoon, Lakmal failed to capitalize on it and now it will difficult to gauge how much purchase Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav would get in the second innings. With India ending the day on 312/2, Virat Kohli wouldn’t want to go for the kill just yet as the pitch is unlikely to offer much to the bowlers.

Sri Lanka back to their hapless form after a rejuvenated Eden Test

There was much talk about the return of the Sri Lankan team, who had reiterated in every possible pre-series press conferences that they had learnt from their mistakes of the home series against India back in July. However, the only thing they have learned, it seems, is how to win the toss. Neither the collective display nor the killer instinct could be seen in the players as they made mistakes one after another. After the trio of Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage and Rangana Herath did well to limit India to just 36 runs in the first 18 overs of the day, both Dasun Shanaka and Dilruwan Perera conceded 82 runs in their 19 overs.

As if that was not enough, Sri Lanka were terrible in the field as well. Vijay was spared twice on the same ball before he went on to score his century. On a Herath delivery, when Vijay only had 19 runs on the board, first an inside edge gave short-leg half-chance and it was instantly followed by a run-out chance, as he had stepped out too far. However, not only did Niroshan Dickwella fail to make the run-out, Sadeera Samarawickrama missed a direct hit soon after. Sri Lanka’s luck ran out with the DRS reviews as well with Chandimal wasting both of them cheapy. With still eight wickets in hand, India will ensure that the Lankans are in for a bumpy ride.

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