Gutsy Pujara defies rampaging Sri Lanka in Kolkata test
KOLKATA (Reuters) – Cheteshwar Pujara stood tall amid ruins as Sri Lanka struck twice in the truncated morning session to reduce India to 74 for five before rain forced an early lunch on day two of the opening test on Friday.
Sri Lanka’s first change bowler Dasun Shanaka dismissed Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin to compound India’s crisis after the hosts resumed on 17 for three at the Eden Gardens.
Pujara leads India’s hopes of a decent first innings total with a defiant unbeaten 47 and had local boy Wriddhiman Saha on six at the other end when rain intervened.
Suranga Lakmal had claimed three wickets on the rain-hit opening day without conceding a run and the paceman sent down 46 dot balls before Rahane hit a boundary to snap the streak.
Shanaka struck in his third over when Rahane chased a wide delivery and nicked it to stumper Niroshan Dickwella to depart for four.
Next man in Ashwin was hit on the thumb by a rising Lahiru Gamage delivery and needed medical attention. He too played a very ordinary shot against Shanaka, slicing a delivery straight to Dimuth Karunaratne at point.
Saha looked tentative as well but Pujara batted with characteristic assuredness at the other end.
On a green track where the ball moved significantly, Pujara came up with a batting masterclass — playing late, with soft hands and leaving well.
India’s number three was his watchful self against deliveries probing the channel outside the off-stump and capitalised on the occasional poor delivery, as the nine boundaries in his 102-ball vigil would suggest.