Opener Murali Vijay cruised to an effortless half-century as India reached a comfortable 116 for two at lunch on the opening day of the third and final cricket Test, here today. Vijay was batting on 51 while skipper Virat Kohli hit three fours in his 17. While the home team scored runs at a fast clip during the opening session, both Shikhar Dhawan (23) and Cheteshwar Pujara (23) would be lamenting the chance missed on one of the flattest decks on offer. Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal was spot on in his assessment of the track as it was another typical low bounce batting paradise at Kotla, where Vijay made merry from the word go after Kohli opted to bat. Vijay started with a streaky four past gully off Suranga Lakmal followed by one off his hips. In the next over from Lahiru Gamage, there was a firm jab past the bowler that went to the boundary. Vijay has hit seven boundaries so far. Dhawan started with a cover drive and hit three more boundaries before he top edged a sweep shot off Dilruwan Perera to be caught at deep backward square leg by Lakmal, who lost his footwear in the process. It was off-spinner's 100th Test wicket. Pujara was as watchful as he had been all these years before unleashing his range of strokes with the visiting teams bowling attack looking sub-standard.
The Lankan attacks plight could be gauged by the fact that they were hit for 18 boundaries in the first session. However he fell to a trap when Chandimal deployed a leg slip for Pujara and Gamage fired one into his body. Pujara tried to whip it off his hips but Sadeera Samarawickrama was positioned exactly for that catch. However there was no stopping Vijay, who treated all bowlers with equal disdain. He hit a flowing cover drive off Gamage and then flicked him through the vacant mid-wicket region for another boundary. Vijay got to his 16th Test half-century off 67 balls when an overthrow fetched him five runs.
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