Ashwin, Saha guide India to 442/5 at lunch vs Sri Lanka

Colombo, (IANS) Sri Lanka struck twice to send back the overnight centurions Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane even as India added 98 runs in the morning session to post 442/5 at lunch on Day 2 of the second cricket Test here on Friday.

All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin (47 not out) and stumper Wriddhiman Saha (16 not out) went undivided at lunch after adding 29 runs for the sixth wicket at the Sinhalese Sports Club here.

Earlier, resuming at 344/3, India lost Pujara (133) in the second over of the day, trapped in front by part-timer Dimuth Karunaratne before Rahane (132) and Ashwin consolidated the innings with a 63-run fifth wicket stand.

Pujara looked good during his brief stay on the second morning, fetching a boundary off Karunaratne, before the next delivery ended his 232-ball vigil.

The Saurashtra right-hander who had by now added 217 runs with Rahane, was hit on his thighs by a back of a length delivery from Karunaratne, resulting in loud appeals from the hosts.

The on-field umpire however, did not budge and the home side immediately asked for a referral which got them the prized wicket.

The fall of Pujara, brought in the dependable Ashwin, who started briskly striking two boundaries off Rangana Herath and Karunaratne before slowing down a bit.

The right-handed duo of Ashwin and Rahane continued to frustrate the Sri Lankans, stealing the odd boundaries and rotating the strike at a good rate to raise their 50-run stand in no time.

In his attempt to accelerate after India crossed the psychological 400-run mark, Rahane perished to debutant left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara, smartly stumped by Niroshan Dickwella after facing 222 balls and sending the ball 14 times to the fence.

Rahane’s dismissal brought a sigh of relief to the Sri Lankan camp, as wicketkeeper-batsman Saha and Ashwin safely guided India to 442/5 at the lunch break.

Brief Scores: India 442/5 (Cheteshwar Pujara 133, Ajinkya Rahane 132, Lokesh Rahul 57, Dimukh Karunaratne 1/31) vs Sri Lanka.

Medaram Jathara

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