KOLKATA (Reuters) - Sri Lanka paceman Suranga Lakmal breathed fire on a green track to rock India on a stop-start opening day of the rain-hit first test on Thursday.
The 30-year-old produced a scintillating display of seam bowling to claim three wickets without conceding a run in his six overs to reduce India to 17 for three before play was called off due to bad light.
Only 11.5 overs could be bowled on the opening day of the contest after rain, which is also forecast to affect play in the next couple of days, washed out the entire first session at the Eden Gardens.
Cheteshwar Pujara was on eight not out with Ajinkya Rahane yet to score at the other end.
India opted for a left-right opening combination and Shikhar Dhawan walked out with Lokesh Rahul after Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to field in overcast conditions.
Lakmal struck with the first ball of the match, dismissing Rahul caught behind with a delivery that pitched just outside the off-stump and the extra bounce beat the batsman.
The paceman also breached Pujara’s defence in the same over but the batsman survived as the ball missed the stumps.
Dhawan hit Lahiru Gamage for a boundary but threw away his wicket playing a rash drive, dragging a Lakmal delivery on to his stumps to depart for eight.
Lakmal, who sent down four consecutive maidens, pursued a probing line and the right-hander nearly dismissed Virat Kohli but the India captain’s flick fell short of mid-wicket.
After bad light forced an early tea, Lakmal returned to trap Kohli lbw for nought. The India captain reviewed the decision but replays suggested the ball would have hit leg-stump.
Pujara took 23 balls to get off the mark, which he did with a streaky boundary off Gamage.
His next scoring shot, another boundary off the same bowler, was more convincing as India’s number three elegantly straight drove him past mid-on.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Ed Osmond