Rahul, Dhawan hit brisk fifties to punish Sri Lanka

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India won the toss and elected to bat first in the third Test against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Stadium on Saturday.

Sri Lanka's most penetrative bowlers are all out nursing injuries, and India have used the chance to beef up their averages.

Sri Lanka have brought into the side pacers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage in place of the injured Nuwan Pradeep and Rangana Herath as they seek redemption trying to hit back against India with pace. Hansie Cronje's South Africa beat a Sachin Tendulkar-led India 2-0 in a two-match series.

The lack of challenges could be because of the big gulf between the two teams, but it could also leave India feeling that all their boxes are ticked. Sandakan, Fernando and Kumara is in the team.

At the break, Dhawan was unbeaten on 64 while Rahul (67 not out) made his seventh successive 50-plus score in Test matches, becoming the joint record-holder alongside Everton Weekes, Andy Flower, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kumar Sangakkara and Chris Rogers.

R Ashwin is among the India players who could be appearing in the County Championship before the end of the season, if the first-class counties have their way.

While the wins over Sri Lanka and West Indies are impressive, one must not forget that Windies have been a side in terminal decline for some time and Sri Lanka are an outfit in transition, still struggling to replace their legendary players.

Sri Lanka has only once suffered a 3-0 defeat at home.

Jadeja accumulated six demerit points inside a 24-month period which means he will be suspended from one Test or two ODIs or two T20Is, whatever comes first.

Captain Dinesh Chandimal, who missed the first Test with pneumonia, says a consolation victory over India would help put the smiles back on his players' faces. You are reduced to ten men after Asela Gunaratne injures his finger in the first hour of the first Test.

Indian batsmen are in a good form with all of them amongst runs.

Cheteshwar Pujara leads India's run-scorers with two centuries and an average of more than 100 in India's three innings so far.

Exhausted of watching Kumara taken to the cleaners, Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lankan skipper, attempted to surprise the Indian openers by bringing on Dimuth Karunaratne.

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Malinda Pushpakumara and Lakshan Sandakan.

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