Cricket: Hardik Pandya's maiden hundred pushes India towards 500
PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - All-rounder Hardik Pandya smashed his maiden test hundred off just 86 deliveries as India closed on a 500-run first innings total in the third and final match against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
The 23-year-old, who also bowls medium pace, was unbeaten on 108 as whitewash-chasing India went to lunch on 487 for nine after an extended morning session on the second day. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav was on three at the other end.
The century was also a maiden first-class ton for the right-hander, who has hit eight boundaries and seven sixes in his knock so far.
India resumed on 329-6 but suffered an early blow when they lost Wriddhiman Saha for 16 in the second over of the day after the wicketkeeper guided seamer Vishwa Fernando's left-arm delivery straight into the hands of the gully fielder.
Kuldeep Yadav showed he was a capable lower-order batsman with a well-crafted 26, more importantly adding 62 in an eighth-wicket stand that dampened Sri Lanka's hopes of restricting the touring side to under 400.
Kuldeep fell to his left-arm wrist spinning counterpart Lakshan Sandakan, who also dismissed Mohammed Shami for eight.
That brought Pandya, unbeaten on one overnight, and Umesh together for the last wicket, allowing the former a license to free his bat in search of quick runs.
The clean-hitting Pandya soon tore into the Sri Lanka attack and blasted 26 in one over from Malinda Pushpakumara, hitting the left-arm spinner for two fours and three sixes in five deliveries.
He reached three figures with a straight punch for four off paceman Lahiru Kumara.
India lead the three-match series 2-0 after big wins in Galle and Colombo.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien)