India extended their stronghold on day two of the first Test at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium as Sri Lanka ended the day at 108/4 in 43 overs. After declaring at 574/8 in 129.2 overs, India picked four Sri Lankan wickets in the final session to put the visitors on the backfoot while enjoying a lead of 466 runs.
India slowly but surely have batted Sri Lanka out of the game. The seventh wicket partnership of 130 runs between Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin (61 off 82 balls), has in all likelihood, put the final nail in their coffin unless there is an out of the world batting effort from Sri Lanka.
Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin slammed five fours to maintain India's comfortable hold on day one. At stumps, Jadeja was batting on 45 and Ashwin on 10.
Dravid was lavish in his praise for Vihari for his gritty show in the second Test against South Africa. He also hailed Iyer as another strong middle order contender. However, The Wall made it pretty clear that both the players will not be preferred over and above a Rahane or a Pujara in the set-up with Kohli set to comeback in the next game.
It was Vihari and Shardul, who were involved in a 41-run stand for the seventh wicket and then had two little but enormously important stands of 17 and 21 respectively with tail-enders Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj to set up a good chase for the Proteas.
Rahul brought up his seventh Test century by steering Maharaj through backward point despite a desperate dive by Keegan Petersen. He also became the second Indian opener to score a Test century in South Africa after Wasim Jaffer's 116 at Cape Town in 2007.
He is also now three runs away from overtaking former Australia captain Ricky Ponting's 2005 haul of 1544 runs.
New Zealand's hopes now rest with Nicholls (36 not out) and Rachin Ravindra (2 not out) as they survived the few overs remaining for the day. Ravindra, who had denied India victory in the first Test at Kanpur holding the fort with last man Ajaz Patel, would be hoping to do the same but this time India has too much time left in their hands and New Zealand too few wickets.
Iyer, who had kept a cautious eye while defending and rotating the strike, stepped out to smash Ajaz Patel for a six down the ground. He then reached his half-century in 109 balls, becoming the first Indian batter to get a century in the first innings and then follow it up with a half-century in second innings on debut.
Earlier on Friday, Shreyas Iyer had struck a century on debut in India making 345. But a five-wicket haul by Tim Southee followed by half-centuries by openers Will Young and Tom Latham helped New Zealand sit on top at the end of day two.
Iyer scored 105 off 171 balls, striking 13 fours and a couple of sixes during his brilliant effort.
It is also learnt that more than one India player had expressed concerns about taking the field in talks between the BCCI and the team management over the last two days.
In the 27th over, Rohit Sharma was given another breather by Rory Burns who dropped a tough chance at the second slip off Ollie Robinson for the second time. The catch dropped by Burns was the 16th time England dropped a catch in the ongoing series.
Earlier, England were bowled out for 432 in 132.2 overs. The hosts could add only nine runs to their overnight score of 423. Craig Overton cracked successive boundaries through square of the wicket on both sides. But he was dismissed LBW by Mohammed Shami. Overton (32) went for review, but in vain. Jasprit Bumrah finished off the England innings by hitting the off-stump of Ollie Robinson (0).
England dominated the session and picked three big wickets of Rahul, Sharma, and Kohli while conceding 56 runs in 25 overs.
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