India's domination of the Sri Lankan bowlers continued in the third and final Test at Pallekele as opener Shikhar Dhawan scored his sixth Test hundred after India captain Virat Kohli opted to bat after winning the toss. In his innings of 119 runs off 123 balls, the left-handed batsman hit 17 boundaries. Dhawan started his innings briskly and batted with intent as India posted 134 for no loss at lunch. Along with him, KL Rahul scored 85 off 135 balls and hit eight boundaries. Rahul settled down quickly on an easy-paced wicket with true bounce. Rahul, who survived a dropped catch on 28, brought up his seventh consecutive Test 50 with a double off pacer Lahiru Kumara.
Malinda Pushpakumara, who sent the Indian openers packing, proved to be the most economical bowler. Paceman Lahiru was very expensive in his six overs, leaking 41 runs while Vishwa Fernando (0/24) also could not keep the Indian batsmen in check.
The opening duo brought up their 50-partnership off just 55 balls in the 10th over and kept up this pace of scoring to reach 100 off 107 balls in the 18th over. They remained in control even when the hosts introduced spin into the attack in the form of Dilruwan Perera.
India made one change to their line-up, with left-arm leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav coming in for the suspended Ravindra Jadeja, while the hosts made three changes to their side leaving out injured Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep along with Dhananjaya de Silva. They were replaced by Lakshan Sandakan, Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando.
With Kuldeep and Sandakan featuring in the match, it was only the second time since 2004 when two 'chinamen' bowlers featured in the same game after Dave Mohammed (West Indies) and Paul Adams (South Africa) at Cape Town.
(with PTI inputs)