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India’s Eden hazard of a different kind

16th November 2017
India were reduced to 17 for three against Sri Lanka in the first test of the three match test series at the Eden Gardens here today.
After the game was commenced under overcast conditions following a three and half hours of delay as bad light and intermittent rains continued to play spoilsport as only 11.5 overs of the allotted 90 could be bowled.
It was a good toss to win for Sri Lanka as the wicket has been under cover for the last two days leaving enough damp and life on the surface. The wicket also had enough grass to produce the desired seam and swing at the beginning of the innings. Following the toss the Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal said, “We would like to exploit the moisture in the wicket today and tomorrow. We are here after a good series against Pakistan and are looking forward to this series.”
While it was an unfortunate take for the Indian side, skipper Virat Kohli said, “we would have wanted to bowl first too as the conditions are overcast but this is a challenge for our batsmen. This is exactly the kind of difficult situation we want to embrace. Don’t think there are too many demons in the wicket though it should take spin from day three. It will be challenging but if you bat well, you will get runs.”

The statement of the Sri Lankan captain post the toss, proved to thrust consequence following the dramatic dismissal of K.L. Rahul for a nought. The delivery by the Sri Lankan pacer Suranga Lakmal that dismissed the Indian opener for a duck in the first ball of the match was a gem of a ball that shaped out taking his outside edge.
K L Rahul thus had the dubious distinction of becoming the third batsman to get out on a first ball of the match duck at Eden Gardens after Sudhir Nayak and Sunil Gavaskar.
There was no reprieve for the Indian batsmen in the 60 minutes the game was played today as they lost two more wickets. The second was Sikhar Dhawan who was caught plumb before the wicket to a ball that cut in sharply for the left hander. The wrecker was Lakhmal again who came after a rain break to trap Indian skipper for a duck. His figures read 6 overs six maidens and 3 wickets of the 11.5 overs bowled on the first day.
One of the main characters at play today was of course the weather. Overcast sky and intermittent rain coupled with sharp winds from the Hooghly meant that the secret demons on the wicket came to life. On a day when 300 minutes of play was lost, game was played in two spurts of 43 minutes and 17 minutes in which the wicket showed wickedness that Eden Gardens is famous for on the opening day of Test matches.   
At stumps Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were batting on 8 and 0 respectively.

Saptaswa Mukerjee and Arindam Basu