Pant’s 31-ball 50 and Iyer’s 67-run hit after helpful input from the top-notch hitters saw India set Sri Lanka to a mammoth target of 447 runs after declaring their second innings at 303 for new.
As it happened | Scorecard
The struggling visitors would need nothing less than a miraculous spectacle to save the game after finishing matchday two 28 to one.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (10) and Kusal Mendis (16) will resume the Sri Lankan pursuit on Monday morning.
With plenty of time at their disposal after grouping Sri Lanka for 109 in the first session of the day for a 143-run lead in the first inning, the Indian batters gained more experience playing with a pink ball on a wicket that helped spinners.
As in the first set, it was Pant’s blitzkrieg that forced Sri Lanka into complete submission. He didn’t let them gain momentum after getting breakthroughs.
Pant’s breakthrough innings allowed Iyer to play freely and it certainly helped India extend their lead beyond the 400 point mark.
FIFTY! @RishabhPant17 surpasses Kapil Dev to score fastest 50 by an Indian in test cricket. It came out 28… https://t.co/BDAnaQRwDW
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1647174474000
Iyer carried from where he started in the opening innings, scoring 67 of 87 on nine shots on the fence.
You never get bored when Pant is in the crease and that hasn’t changed today. He cut, shot, swept, back-swept, drove, loaded the wicket at will and raised his fifty on just 28 balls with 40 of those runs inbounds.
It was the fastest Test fifty by an Indian, wiping out Kapil Dev’s 30-ball effort against Pakistan in 1982. He fell for an even 50, becoming the third scalp of left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama ( 4/78).
The Indians scored at a good pace throughout the day as the Lankan bowlers failed to exploit the spin conditions.
Head coach Rahul Dravid and former #TeamIndia captain @imVkohli congratulate Suranga Lakmal as he is ready to bid… https://t.co/EMgD0oYAEa
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1647187018000
Rohit was calculating in shot selection before throwing Silva’s off-spinner Dhananjaya straight to Angelo Mathews for 46. His footwork looked good, he swept the left arm spinners wide and charged the wicket to stifle De Silva’s off-spin.
However, he couldn’t resist the temptation to go after De Silva as he approached half a century.
Before returning, Rohit added 42 runs with compatriot Mayank Agarwal (22) and 56 for the second wicket with Hanuma Vihari (35), who also squandered a strong start.
Agarwal edged that of left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (3/87), who deflected the ball the right length and had the Indian caught by De Silva.
STUMPS on day 2 of the 2nd test. Sri Lanka is 109 & 28/1 in response to #TeamIndia’s 252 & 303/9d.Scorecard -… https://t.co/tGLM4jUsyR
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1647187778000
Vihari, who would ideally like to claim third place, missed a straighter one from Jayawickrama and lost his stump.
Jayawickrama also fired Virat Kohli (13), who fell forward again and his search for that elusive 71st international cent just got longer. He is now without an international hundred in 73 innings. It was another delivery that went low and he was trapped on the back foot.
The streak of low scores means Kohli is now averaging below 50 after years of consistency.
In the morning session, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah (5/24) completed his eighth five-wicket run and first at home as India knocked out the Sri Lankan bottom order in a jiffy.
Sri Lanka took over at 86 for six and India needed less than 30 minutes to close their innings. Bumrah and off-spinner R Ashwin (2/30) scalped two batters apiece as Sri Lanka’s shoddy display continued.
Stumper hitter Niroshan Dickwella (21) started with consecutive boundaries off Bumrah. He opened the face of the bat to gently place the ball between the gaps.
Ashwin played on the other side and immediately troubled Embuldeniya (1), his balls deflecting from the rough.
Embuldeniya couldn’t handle a short from Bumrah, missing a draw to be caught by Rishabh Pant. It was an irresponsible shot under the circumstances.
Surnaga Lakmal showed his intention to stay at the wicket but couldn’t read a carrom ball from Ashwin and saw his wood disturbed. It was right after he threw one over the middle for a boundary.
Bumrah completed his five-wicket run when he took Dickwella behind. The shortball jumped off the track, hit the bat’s shoulder before entering Pant’s gloves.
Vishwa Fernando went after Ashwin in the next over but was soon fooled by another carrom ball and was puzzled by Pant as the batter rushed forward.
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