Colombo, Aug 12: Riding upon 188-run-opening stand between Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul India reached 329/6 at the end of the play on day one of the third test against Sri Lanka.
However, the hosts prevented the visitors from taking big advantage of the good start the latter and got rid of all the key Indian batsmen by the end of day's play.
Malinda Pushpakumara (3/40) and Lakshan Sandakan (2/84) together shared five wickets amongst themselves to put a break over India's charge in the second and third session of the day.
Rahul (85), Dhawan (119), Cheteshwar Pujara (8), Ajinkya Rahane (17), Virat Kohli (42) and R Ashwin (31) were the six wickets that India lost as the hosts clawed their way back into the game.
India's domination of the Sri Lankan bowlers continued unabated as Rahul and Dhawan struck fluent half-centuries to take the visitors to a comfortable 134 without loss at lunch.
Rahul and Dhawan were never troubled by the Sri Lankan bowlers and punished them with as many as 15 boundaries in the first session.
Visitors dominated the entire first session as openers Rahul and Dhawan attacked the hosts at will but Rahul's dismissal in the post-lunch session infused a new life in a lifeless bowling attack. Pushpakumara and Skandan kept things tight for the batsmen who followed and took wickets at regular intervals.
Earlier, after coming into bat after skipper Kohli won the toss, Dhawan, who scored at a brisk pace, and Rahul settled down quickly on an easy-paced wicket with true bounce.
The southpaw slammed his career's sixth Test ton, which came off 107 balls with 11 shots to the fence, while Rahul took 135 balls for his 85, laced with seventeen boundaries.
Before lunch, paceman Lahiru Kumara was very expensive in his six overs, leaking 41 runs while Vishwa Fernando (0/24) also could not keep the batsmen in check.
So much so that Dimuth Karunaratne had to be introduced early into the attack and was the best Lankan bowler on display in the morning session.
The opening duo brought up its 188-run-partnership in 39.3 overs and kept up the 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. Lakshan Sandakan was also brought into the attack but didn't help either.
Dhawan reached his fourth Test half-century off 45 balls, inclusive of eight fours. Rahul reached his ninth Test half- century off 67 balls, inclusive of four fours.
For the latter, it was his seventh successive fifty in Test cricket overtaking Gundapppa Viswanath and Rahul Dravid (both with six half-centuries each).
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 playing eleven.
Sri Lanka made three changes to their side leaving out injured Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep along with Dhananjaya de Silva and replacing them with Lakshan Sandakan, Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando.
With Yadav 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.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella(wk), Dilruwan Perera, Malinda Pushpakumara, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha(wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav