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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Ashwin halts Sri Lanka reply as India post big first innings total in Colombo

Six Indian batsman passed 50 as the visitors posted

Ravichandran Ashwin, right, hit a half century with the bat before taking the two Sri Lanka wickets on Day 2 in Colombo. Lakruwan Wanniarachici / AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin, right, hit a half century with the bat before taking the two Sri Lanka wickets on Day 2 in Colombo. Lakruwan Wanniarachici / AFP

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed two early wickets to put India on top of the second Test after the visitors posted 622-9 declared against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Friday.

Ashwin got rid of openers Upul Tharanga for nought and Dimuth Karunaratne for 25 to leave the hosts reeling at 50-2 at stumps on the second day.

Kusal Mendis on 16 and captain Dinesh Chandimal on eight were batting at close of play with the hosts still trailing by 572 runs in their first innings at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.

Earlier six Indian batsmen scored 50 or more including an unbeaten 70 by Ravindra Jadeja as the tourists posted their biggest total in Sri Lanka.

The 217-run fourth-wicket partnership between overnight centurions Cheteshwar Pujara, who top-scored with 133, and Ajinkya Rahane remained the highlight of the innings.

Veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath claimed four wickets for Sri Lanka, which suffered new injury worries after paceman Nuwan Pradeep left the field on Day 1 with a pulled hamstring.

India's wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha made a patient 67 and Ashwin scored 54 before becoming Herath victims.

Debutant left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara picked up two wickets. They included batsman Rahane for 132 - his first Test wicket - in the morning session.

Part-time bowler Dimuth Karunaratne claimed Pujara, who added just five runs to his overnight 128.

India, who lead the three-match series 1-0, need a win to clinch the series. The hosts need at least a draw to keep their hopes alive.

* Agence France-Presse