Rahul had scored 57 runs in the last Test at Colombo to equal the record of six back to back fifties held by former Indian players Rahul Dravid and Gundappa Vishwanath.
Herath strained his back and following the advice of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Medical Unit was deemed unavailable for selection, also considering the large workload he has undertaken in recent Tests. A beautifully looped ball from Sandakan found the edge of Kohli's bat as he looked to drive and Karunaratne picked an easy catch to have India in a slight position of bother at 296/5. The second Test also witnessed India defeating Sri Lanka by a margin of an innings in Sri Lanka for the first time.
But if one goes by the indications, the squad for the ODI series, will more or less resemble the same that played in West Indies barring the inclusion of two spinners - Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin. Dhawan goes for a flat slog-sweep off Pushpakumara.
Sandakan, meanwhile, forced the batsmen to keep a wary eye on his wrist to pick the variations out of his hand, and in the process they sometimes misread his variations in trajectory.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, the batting stars of the Champions Trophy, are certainties to fill the top three spots, unless they are rested. Sandakan struck this time, bowling a beauty to send back Pujara for 8.
Given Sri Lanka's day on the field until then, another drop was expected but Karunaratne timed his jump accurately enough to get his palms behind the ball before completing the catch which gave the near-comatose crowd something to wake up and blow their trumpets to.
"The wicket is bit on the slower side and not has much of bounce in it".
Dip undid Rahane and a loose drive undid Kohli, even if the bowler in each case wasn't the one that initiated the respective plans. "He has proven himself in Dharamsala, which was not such a spin-friendly wicket and it was quite flat in the first 2-3 days of the Test match", he added. The duo broke a jinx that affected India for close to two years - the absence of the 100-run alliance atop the order. The next pair of Kohli and Ashwin was cautious against parsimonious spinners and the run-rate dipped below three.
The 26-year-old, replacing the injured Rangana Herath, also removed the risky Kohli with the right-handed batsman out for 42 after getting an edge to slip.