Sri Lanka respond after Dhawan hundred and record-equalling Rahul knock

India opener Shikhar Dhawan smashed another hundred and KL Rahul made a record-equalling half-century before Sri Lanka hit back on day one of the third Test in Pallekele.

Dhawan put Sri Lanka's attack to the sword with a magnificent 190 in the first Test and he hit a brisk 119 as the India openers cashed in after Virat Kohli won the toss on Saturday.

Rahul (85) gave another exhibition of his class at the top of the order, becoming only the sixth man to score 50 or more in seven consecutive Test innings courtesy of a first-wicket stand of 188.

Malinda Pushpakumara (3-40), in only his second Test, sparked Sri Lanka's revival after lunch and Lakshan Sandakan (2-84) struck twice, leaving India 329-6 at stumps as they target a 3-0 series whitewash.

Wriddhiman Saha (13 not out) and Hardik Pandya (1 no) will resume in Kandy on Sunday.

The aggressive Dhawan latched on to short stuff from the recalled Lahiru Kumara with some exquisite cuts, while Rahul pulled expertly and drove with elegance as India got off to an ominous start.

Kumara was removed from the attack after only three overs and failed to redeem himself for a poor opening spell when he dropped Rahul on 28 running back from mid-on off the bowling of Dimuth Karunaratne.

That proved to be costly as Dhawan and Rahul continued to score all too easily, the left-hander setting about spinner Dilruwan Perera.

The prolific Rahul, who timed the ball superbly, etched his name in the record books with yet another half-century and Dhawan raced on to 64 as India reached lunch on 134 without loss.

Angelo Mathews had no time to react when Rahul edged a cut past him at slip off Sandakan, but he missed out on a century after dancing down the track to strike Pushpakumara to Karunaratne at mid-on.

Cheteshwar Pujara was rattled on the helmet by a short ball from Kumara before Dhawan brought up his sixth Test hundred by using his feet superbly to drive Pushpakumara wide of mid-off for four.

Dhawan's stylish 123-ball knock, which included 17 boundaries, ended when he swept Pushpakumara to a diving Dinesh Chandimal and Pujara (8) fell before tea, caught cutting Sandakan to Mathews in the slips, as the hosts' persistence finally paid off.

Pushpakumara bowled Ajinkya Rahane (17) and Sandakan claimed the scalp of Kohli, who was taken by Karunaratne at slip eight short of a half-century, in a strong Sri Lanka fightback.

Vishwa Fernando, playing his second Test a year after his debut, also snared Ravichandran Ashwin (31) caught behind at full stretch by Niroshan Dickwella to give Sri Lanka another late lift.

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