India’s Dhawan dominates in first Sri Lanka Test

(AFP) – Opener Shikhar Dhawan hit an unbeaten 64 to give India a steady start on the first day of the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old left-hander put on 88 for the unbroken second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara (37 not out) as the visitors reached 115-1 after electing to bat.

Dhawan, who sat out India’s last 11 Tests, negotiated the bowlers with confidence, hitting eight fours in his breezy 78-ball innings.

While Dhawan was in the thirties, Asela Gunaratne dropped a catch at second slip and hurt his already heavily strapped left wrist.

Medics rushed to attend to Gunaratne, who could be seen writhing in pain before walking off the ground.

Dhawan, whose last Test century came at Galle when India toured in 2015, reached his fourth Test fifty off 62 balls.

India went on to lose the Test two years ago but won the remaining two matches to seal the series 2-1.

The Indians got an early jolt when Dhawan’s opening partner Abhinav Mukund edged Nuwan Pradeep behind to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella.

Mukund, who opened the batting after Lokesh Rahul was ruled out with viral fever, made 12.

India handed a Test cap to all-rounder Hardik Pandya and Sri Lanka brought in debutant Danushka Gunathilaka.