31 July, 2017
India went some way towards purging the bitter memory of its 63-run defeat at the same venue two years back by swatting Sri Lanka aside by 304 runs, thus snatching a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Galle: India inched closer towards victory in the first Test after Sri Lanka managed to reach 85 for 2 after India set a mammoth victory target of 550 riding on skipper Virat Kohli's 17th Test hundred.
Brief Scores: India 600, 240/3 declared vs Sri Lanka 291, 192/4 (Dimuth Karunaratne 85 batting, Niroshan Dickwella 48 batting, Ravindra Jadeja 2/42).
However, a double injury to Vijay and Rahul meant that India had to field an entirely new combination in Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund for the opening Test at Galle. The limited overs opener was in Hong Kong with family on a holiday two days before India's departure to Sri Lanka.
Worryingly for the hosts, the experienced left-arm spinner injured his middle finger while fielding at cover on Friday, and didn't come out to bat as Sri Lanka slipped to the huge loss on Saturday. "You grow as a cricketer, your technique improves and when you come and play worldwide cricket again, you've some experience of playing first-class cricket and you are always in touch with the game", Pujara added.
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Pressure has a way of humbling even the most experienced players, and the crowd at Galle was witness to this fact on a Saturday (July 29) afternoon as Angelo Mathews threw his wicket away to put Sri Lanka in a deeper hole. It was a clinical performance by the Indian Team led by Virat Kohli.
In his unbeaten 103-run knock, Kohli faced 136 balls and hit five fours and a six.
Shikhar Dhawan was named the Player of the Match. Kohli described the win as "more special" since the pitch did not offer much to the bowlers. This was also his 10th Test century as a captain, thus edging past former Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin who had nine centuries to his name.
India after winning the toss chose to bat first had made 600 runs in the first inning with centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara. "We couldn't get him to open either because the openers were already there, that's why we got Kusal to four for this Test". I just watched the ball and backed my game. Credit to the India team, and we need improvement in all three departments. I am disappointed I didn't get to three-figures today but I'm happy. I wanted to play with legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag, and many of them were part of that Indian team.