India’s Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot as Sri Lanka Board President’s XI wicketkeeper Kusal Perera looks on the first day of the three-day warm-up match in Colombo yesterday. (AFP)
Middle order batsman Ajinkya Rahane’s brilliant unbeaten century helped the Indians reach a commendable score of 314-6 at stumps on day one of the three-day practice game against Sri Lanka Board President’s XI here yesterday.
Rahane who has been among the runs lately, struck a crisp 109 off 127 balls with 11 fours and one six to remain unbeaten with Ravichandran Ashwin (10) at the stumps at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
Opener Dhawan made 62 off 102 balls to give India a strong start, putting on 108 runs for the first wicket with partner K.L. Rahul (43) after being put into bat.
Rahul (43) fell agonisingly short of his half-century handing the hosts their first wicket in the 30th over.
The dismissal of Rahul made way for the home team to trouble the Indians. The visitors lost key batters Rohit Sharma (7), skipper Virat Kohli (8) and Dhawan in the space of four overs to slump to 133/4 in the 38th over.
Right-arm medium pacer Kasun Rajitha caused the most damage picking up those three crucial wickets to rattle the Indians. He finished the day with figures of 3/47 from his 13 overs.
Cheteshwar Pujara (43) then joined hands with Rahane to resurrect the innings with a 134-run fifth-wicket partnership.
But the Saurashtra batsman gave away his wicket in the 66th over when he looked set for a big score. Wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha (3) too didn’t last long as the Indians slumped to 273/6 in the 68th over, pegged back by leg spinner Jeffrey Vandersay’s two wickets (2/76).
But Rahane ensured the Indians went into stumps without further damage, stitching an unbeaten 41-run seventh wicket stand with Ashwin.
Brief scores: India 314/6 in 79 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 109 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 62; Kasun Rajitha 3/47, Jeffrey Vandersay 2/76) vs Sri Lanka Board President’s XI
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