GALLE: Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli hit centuries before Sri Lanka fought back on the second day of the first Test against India at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday.
The tourists, replying to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 183, took their overnight total of 128-2 to 304-6 by tea after an eventful post-lunch session.
Left-handed opener Dhawan scored 134, his fourth Test century and the second in succession after making 173 against Bangladesh in June, and skipper Kohli returned to form with 103.
The pair put on 227 runs for the third wicket in a fine partnership after India were reduced to 28-2 after tea on the first day.
India were cruising at 255-2 when Sri Lanka hit back with four quick wickets on either side of the second new ball to make it 302-6.
India will resume after tea with a lead of 121 runs and four wickets in hand, looking to build a sizeable total in the first match of the three-Test series.
Wriddhiman Saha was unbeaten on 25 and Harbhajan Singh had yet to score.
Dhawan, who was on 53 overnight, reached the three-figure mark 20 minutes before lunch by driving fast bowler Dhammika Prasad through the covers for his 10th boundary.
But Dhawan was lucky to survive a loud appeal for leg-before against off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal when he was on 79.
Replays showed the ball pitched in line and would have gone on to hit the stumps, but since the Decision Review System is not being used in the series, umpire Bruce Oxenford’s decision stood.
Kohli went to his 11th Test century with an off-driven boundary against Kaushal, his first 50-plus knock in 12 innings across all formats since making 107 in the World Cup match against Pakistan in Adelaide in February.
Kohli was given out leg-before later in the same over as he attempted to pull the off-spinner, but replays indicated the ball may have turned enough to miss the leg-stump.
Kaushal struck again in his next over, trapping Ajinkya Rahane leg-before for no score as India slipped from 255-2 to 257-4.
Sri Lanka found instant success with the second new ball, which was claimed after 86 overs, as seamer Nuwan Pradeep bowled Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin in the space of six deliveries.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews, who was indisposed and sat out the entire morning session, returned after lunch to take charge and fashion his team’s fightback.
On Wednesday, India’s off-spinner Ashwin claimed six wickets and leg-spinner Amit Mishra took two as the hosts were dismissed in 49.4 overs after electing to bat.