Hardik Pandya could become India's Ben Stokes, says Virat Kohli

Hope Soto
July 30, 2017

The Indian Cricket Team has won the first Test of the 3-match series against Sri Lanka by 304 runs on the fourth day itself.

Chasing a huge target of 550 runs to win, Sri Lankan opener Dimuth Karunaratne fell just three-run short of a century as he struck a blistering 97-run knock, including nine boundaries, to provide his side with a flawless start.

Pandya, who made his worldwide debut a year ago, was included in the side ahead of chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav for the Galle Test, becoming India's 289th Test cap.

# 1376 - An aggregate of 1376 runs were scored in this Test. India scored 600 and 240/3 declared while Sri Lanka scored 291 and 245. "You can not utilise so much energy in that but it always feels good to score runs especially when the team wins", Kohli, who scored 103 not out, added.

"This time around, the wicket was really good to bat on, even till today if you applied yourself, you could have easily scored runs on that surface".

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Burdened with an improbable target, Sri Lanka needed a solid opening stand but their hopes were dashed when Mohammed Shami bowled Upul Tharanga for 10, a relief for Kohli who had dropped the batsman at second slip in the same over.

Post lunch, Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis (36) continued their partnership for the third wicket. Kohli made an unbeaten 103 facing 136 deliveries and hitting five fours and a six.

With this win India took 1-0 lead over Sri Lanka.

Mathews, who struggled initially against Ashwin, on 32 surviving an lbw decision reviewed by India when ball-tracking returned an umpire's call verdict, slowly grew in assurance, and ended the day batting on 54 with Dilruwan Perera for company.

Sri Lanka, already without Asela Gunaratne after he fractured his thumb on day one, lost Rangana Herath to a finger injury, but the stand-in captain is expected to return to the field on day four. Having jumped out of his crease and inside-edged into his pad, he turned and hurried back as the ball rolled towards Abhinav Mukund at silly point. But this wicket didn't have much help for spinners. "He deserved a hundred as well", Kohli said after the match. "We managed to play without him and hopefully we will bounce back well in the second Test". Kohli also became the quickest captain to score 1000 overseas Test runs, reaching the mark in 17 innings. Kohli expressed pleasure that his team had become adept at the art of winning Test matches on flat tracks. Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin and Umesh Yadav, meanwhile, chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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