Murali Vijay

New Delhi: Sri Lanka pulled back with two late wickets as India rode on centurions Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli to end the opening day at 371/4 in the third and final Test at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Saturday.

Riding on a 283-run third wicket stand between Vijay (155) and Kohli (156 not out), India dominated most sessions of the day before chinaman Lakshan Sandakan’s twin strikes helped Sri Lanka recover.

At stumps, Kohli and Rohit Sharma went undivided on respective scores of 156 and 6 as the tourists managed to pull back in the final four overs of the day.

With four overs left in the day, Vijay perished to a wrong ‘un from chinaman Lakshan Sandakan, with stumper Niroshan Dickwella removing the bails in a flash.

The Tamil Nadu right-hander’s patient innings came off 267 deliveries and was laced with 13 hits to the fence.

One over later, Sandakan again jolted the hosts with the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane (1), who perished in similar fashion as Vijay, being stumped by Dickwella.

Earlier, India elected to bat after winning the toss on a placid Kotla track. The Indian opening duo of Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan (23) gave a solid 42-run start before the latter gifted his wicket away to a harmless Dilruwan Perera off-break delivery.

Coming off a break, the southpaw looked in good control during his brief 35-ball knock, laced with four boundaries before a top edge off a sweep brought his downfall.

With the wicket, Perera became the fastest Sri Lankan to take 100 wickets.

The fall of Dhawan brought in Cheteshwar Pujara (23), who looked equally fluent during his 39-ball innings, comprising four hits to the fence.

But the Saurashtra batsman fell to yet another soft dismissal of the morning when he attempted to clip a good length ball from Lahiru Gamage towards the on-side only to find Sadeera Samarawickrama at leg gully.

With two wickets down for 78 runs, in walked skipper Kohli amid loud cheers from his home crowd. Kohli responded to the cheers by cracking a brilliant boundary off only the third delivery even as Vijay joined the party with his trademark drives. He and Vijay then joined hands to start recovery work for India.

Fresh from a brilliant century in the second Test at Nagpur, the Tamil Nadu opener Vijay continued to haunt the islanders with his exquisite timing to gradually reach his 17th Test half century.

Thereafter, it was one way traffic for the hosts as Kohli and Vijay offered very little chances to the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Kohli reached a personal milestone when he became the fourth fastest Indian batsman to complete 5000 runs in Test cricket.

Playing in his 63rd Test, Kohli became the 11th Indian batsman to achieve the milestone, when he reached 25 in India’s first innings.

Sunil Gavaskar (95 innings), Virender Sehwag (99) and Sachin Tendulkar (103) are the other Indians to have achieved the feat ahead of Kohli, who took 105 innings.

To go with that Kohli also managed to cross the barrier of 16,000 international runs, across all formats.

Kohli and Vijay continued milking the islanders, who showed very little effort to curb the easy singles from the Indian duo in the entire second session and most of the final session.