Ajinkya Rahane's unbeaten century put India in command against Sri Lanka Board President's XI
India are well placed at 314/6 after the opening day of three-day warm-up match against Sri Lanka Board President XI in Colombo, ESPNCricinfo reports. Having begun the innings well with Shikar Dhawan and KL Rahul putting on a 108-run stand for the opening wicket, it was Ajinkya Rahane’s unbeaten century that guided the visitors to a comfortable position.
Rahane was in scintillating form, scoring at a brisk pace without taking too many risks and is batting at 109 of just 127 balls with Ravichandran Ashwin giving him company at the other end on 10.
"I wanted to play my positive cricket," Rahane said of his innings. "My intent has been positive throughout the last one to two years, wherever I have played. I wanted to continue with that same intent. In our batting unit, everyone's intent is to look for runs."
For the President’s XI, Kasun Rajitha picked up three wickets but skipper Lahiru Thirimanne might be regretting not bowling his most accomplished bowler, Lahiru Gamage, in the opening session of the day’s play.
Dhawan made 62 while Rahul, who featured in the side in the place of Murali Vijay, who is not playing as he is nursing a strained hamstring, missed out narrowly on his half century. The opening pair negotiated the pacers well as India went into lunch without losing any wicket.
It was Gamage who made the breakthrough getting rid of Rahul who was caught in the slips attempting a pull shot. Rajitha then triggered a mini collapse in the middle order by picking up three wickets in as many overs. Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli were dismissed cheaply and he also got rid of the well settled Dhawan.
But the hosts’ hope of running through the rest of India’s batting line-up was thwarted by Rahane and Pujara who made a patient 42. The pair built a 134-run partnership that not only rescued India but put them in command at the close of play.
"Pujara batted pretty well," Rahane said. "He took his time and it is important to get one or two big partnerships in Test series because, in one or two sessions, the game can change."
Jeffrey Vandersay picked up two wickets late on, that of Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha to bring back the hosts into contention, but they’ll hope to do much better on the second day, starting with the dismissal of Rahane.