Rishabh Pant shines with 96 as India score 357/6

Wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant hammered 96 off just 97 balls as Team India posted 357/6 on Day 1 of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali. Batting first after winning the toss, the hosts dominated proceedings for most of the day. Ravindra Jadeja (45 *) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10 *) were at the crease at stumps on Day 1.

The day belonged to Pant, who hit nine fours and four sixes in his innings. He looked set for a well-made hundred before being bowled by Suranga Lakmal with a scrambled seam delivery that went through the gate. The left-handed batter was shattered and had to literally force himself off the ground.

In the period before being dismissed, Pant was absolutely dominant. Having reached a patient fifty, he opened up by clobbering Lasith Embuldeniya for two sixes and two fours in the 76th over that went for 22. The next over bowled by Dhananjaya de Silva saw one-handed strokes going for four and six.

Pant raced into the 90s with a couple more boundaries before a lapse in concentration cost him a Test hundred. The keeper-batter and Jadeja featured in a six-wicket stand of 104.

Earlier, after Virat Kohli and Hanuma Vihari fell in quick succession in the second session, Shreyas Iyer and Pant rebuilt the innings with a 53-run stand. Iyer carried on his good form from the limited-overs matches but could not convert his start into a big score.

On 27, he was trapped lbw by Dhananjaya de Silva, who got a good length to straighten sharply and beat the batter’s defense. This was the first time Sri Lanka dismissed Shreyas on their ongoing tour!

Team India were well-placed at Tea on Day 1

Although India went to Tea on Day 1 at 199 for 4, both well-set batters Vihari and Kohli were dismissed for 58 and 45 respectively. The hosts began the session at 109 for 2, with Vihari and Kohli having seen off a tricky period before Lunch.

The session began on an impressive note for India as Vihari drove Lasith Embuldeniya for a straight boundary. Both batters looked in fine form as Team India headed towards laying a solid foundation for a good first-innings total. Vihari reached a well-compiled fifty off 93 balls with a single off Lahiru Kumara.

The 90-run partnership was broken in the 44th over when Embuldeniya got a fuller-length delivery to spin past Kohli’s straight bat and knock the off-stump. While he fell short of a half-century, the former skipper did become the sixth Indian batter to score 8,000 Test runs. The hosts suffered a double blow when Vihari played on to Vishwa Fernando, attempting a drive away from the body.

At the start of the day, openers Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal got Team India off to a confident start. Both openers looked in good touch. In fact, the duo combined to pick three boundaries in the fourth over bowled by Fernando.

In the 10th over, Rohit smacked Lahiru Kumara for consecutive boundaries to bring up the fifty partnership. However, the Indian captain fell in the same over, miscuing a short ball to fine leg on 29. Agarwal was then trapped lbw for 33 by Embuldeniya, a dismissal that brought Kohli to the crease in his landmark 100th Test.

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