Prime Sports, National (Kolkata), November 16:- Pacer Suranga Lakmal took three wickets to shave off India’s top order and reduce them to 17/3 at stumps on a heavily rain-truncated opening day of the first cricket Test at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
Play was stopped for three and a half hours after light drizzle, coupled with wet outfield, forced covers to remain on the field throughout the morning. After a delayed toss, the proceedings had to be halted thrice due to bad light.
Of the 11.5 overs bowled over 60 minutes of play that was possible, the tourists had the hosts on the mat from the word go. At stumps, which was called early due to bad light, India were reeling at 17/3.
Lakmal (3/0) accounted for opener Lokesh Rahul (0) on the very first delivery, also taking the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan (8 off 11; 1×4) and captain Virat Kohli (0 off 11) in a spell of devastating swing bowling courtesy the seam-friendly wicket.
Rahul’s golden duck ended his streak of seven consecutive Test 50s. A seaming delivery squared on the Karnataka right-hander inside the crease, forcing Rahul to edge the delivery which had extra bounce away from his body to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella.
At the other end, Dhawan dragged the ball onto his stumps the only time he was brought onto his front foot by Lakmal.
Pujara got his first runs after 21 balls, pushing at a delivery short of good length which went for a four towards the third man boundary.
The conditions were tough to bat even for the in-form and technically sound Saurashtra batsman. He was searching for the ball which nipped back off the deck rather late.
At tea, India were 17/2 with Pujara (8) and Kohli (0) at the crease after only 43 minutes of play.
In the final session, Pujara, who came into the Test scoring a double ton against Jharkhand and 182 versus Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy, was the only batsman who looked to be settling down on a wicket which had a lot of zip.
To a Lahiru Gamage half-volley, Pujara played a classy drive past mid-off before the right-arm fast bowler got back with a gem of a delivery in the next ball that moved in at the batsman.
However, he witnessed his captain Kohli depart after an 11-ball stay, falling plumb to a superb Lakmal delivery which held its line as Kohli played for the outswing. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).