Ravindra Jadeja stamped his authority as India’s premier all-rounder with a career-best unbeaten 175 as the home team piled up a mammoth 574 for 8 declared at tea on the second day of the opening Test against Sri Lanka here.
Jadeja (175 no off 228 balls) scored his second Test hundred with 17 boundaries and three sixes, making a mockery of a below par Sri Lanka attack, which seemed to have given up the fight long before the first ball on the second day was bowled.
The hundred would be an immense confidence booster for the Saurashtra man, who missed four Tests this season due to a knee injury.
India slowly but surely have batted Sri Lanka out of the game. The seventh-wicket partnership of 130 runs between Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin (61 off 82 balls), has in all likelihood, put the final nail in their coffin unless there is an out-of-the-world batting effort from Sri Lanka.
The 111-run off 27 overs during the session came at brisk pace, courtesy India’s spin twins.
In the second session, Jadeja shielded Mohammed Shami (20 not out off 34 balls) but even then managed to add 103 runs for the unbroken ninth wicket before Rohit Sharma decided to declare the innings.
Jadeja paced his innings to perfection and at one point was hitting boundaries at will after refusing singles on a spread out field.
The Sri Lankan team looked despondent at the start of the day and Dimuth Karunaratne’s defensive field placings was a testimony to how they were just trying to bide time rather than think of getting wickets.
Their left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (46-3-188-2) at one point was bowling with a long-off, deep mid-wicket, deep fine leg and deep point trying to save boundaries.
The result was that the Jadeja-Ashwin pair milked the bowling for singles and doubles besides also getting their share of fours.
The home team has hit more than 50 boundaries and four sixes so far.
There was a point when both the batters just casually drove the half volleys to the fence and there was not a single Sri Lankan bowler who put in any extra effort.
Finally, after having faced 81 deliveries and hitting eight boundaries, Ashwin was dismissed when Suranga Lakmal dug one short and the batter gloved a hook shot to keeper Niroshan Dickwella.
But that didn’t deter Jadeja from reaching the three-figure mark by pushing an Embuldeniya delivery towards cover for a single which brought out the customary sword celebration.