Rishabh Pant blazed away to a 97-ball 96 to power India to 357 for six on the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
Pant hit nine boundaries and four sixes in his whirlwind knock that was put to an end by medium pacer Suranga Lakmal. Virat Kohli missed out on a half-century in his landmark 100th Test as he was bowled out for 45 by left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya after he shared a 90-run stand with Hanuma Vihari, who played a fine 58-run knock.
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin were batting on 45 and 10 respectively at the draw of stumps on day 1.
Embuldeniya was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka, snaring two wickets while giving away 107 runs.
Earlier, skipper Rohit Sharma played one pull shot too many while Mayank Agarwal was deceived by an arm ball as India lost both their opener after a quick start with 100-plus runs coming in the first session.
Rohit (29 off 28 balls) and Agarwal (33 off 49 balls) built a half-century stand inside 10 overs but then couldn’t capitalise on the start.
However, India maintained a scoring rate of more than three and half runs per over during the two sessions, largely due to the 22 boundaries and a six hit.
Agarwal, at the other end, did get a few boundaries but they were streaky ones before Embuldeniya trapped him on the front-leg.
Embuldeniya, who has risen up the ranks, got the ball to turn and keep low in the first session itself which will certainly be a pleasing sight for Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Brief Score: India 1st Innings: 357 for 6 in 85 overs (Rishabh Pant 96, Hanuma Vihari 58; Lasith Embuldeniya 2/107)