It was Pandya's maiden Test century. We made a sign, it had nothing to do with the second century (of the series) or anything.
Thus said Shikhar Dhawan, in Hindi, after the opening day of India's third and final Test against Sri Lanka on Saturday (August 12), a topsy-turvy exchange leaving the visitors on 329 for 6 at stumps after having reached 188 without loss by mid-afternoon. Dhawan went on get a ton.
Hardik Pandya raced to his maiden global century off 86 balls as India reached 487 for nine at lunch on day two of the third Test against Sri Lanka. India then lost two quick wickets, with Dhawan falling to Pushpakumara as well, hitting one to square leg, into the diving hands of Chandimal.
India won the second match by an innings and 53 runs, and would come into the game high on confidence.
Rahul, who also has four Test centuries to his name, was often criticised early in his Test career for his inconsistency has definitely turned a new leaf in what is still a very young and promising Test career.
One would be excused for wondering why India's first eleven is even bothering to put themselves through this worldwide net practice session. The last home global season, the lower order had taken India to bigger totals. Rahul has now equalled the world record of getting a fifty plus score in seven successive innings under his belt. Sir Everton Weekes, Andy Flower, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kumar Sangakkara and Chris Rogers are the others to do so.
It meant Pandya, who began the day's play on 1, became the second Indian batsman in the series to score a century in a session, after Shikhar Dhawan on the first day of the first Test in Galle.
India already lead the series 2-0.
On an easy surface for batting, the Indian openers picked up boundaries at will and also made Sri Lanka pay for their profligacy.
The Lankans had themselves to blame for letting a couple of opportunities slip when an edge from Dhawan went through second and third slip and then Lahiru Kumara misjudged a skier from Rahul. You would think they might turn to spin, but being without the services of Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal, they are left with Vishwa Fernando and Lahiru Kumara, both greenhorns. Middle-order batsman Dhananjaya de Silva was dropped after scores of nought and 17 in Colombo.
However, some fine bowling in the final two sessions by left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara (3/40 in 18 overs) and chinaman Lakshan Sandakan (2/84 in 25 overs) helped Sri Lanka gain some foothold when stumps were drawn on the opening day.