Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and duly elected to have a bowl first on a moist and wet pitch. His decision was vindicated as the hosts finished the day at 17-3 before bad light caused stumps to be drawn early.
We look at the key talking points of a short but eventful day of cricket in Kolkata.
Murali Vijay misses out in the opener’s roulette
While Murali Vijay and KL Rahul had cemented their spots as India’s opening batsmen not too long ago, an injury to the former meant Shikhar Dhawan was drafted back into the role when the two sides last met in the islanders’ backyard.
Dhawan had seized the opportunity with both hands with two tons in the 3-0 series victory over Sri Lanka which in turn meant that the Indian team management was faced with a tough choice once Vijay returned to full fitness.
Rahul’s run of seven consecutive half-centuries meant that he kept his spot in the playing XI and in the end it was Vijay who missed out on Thursday with Dhawan’s recent exploits earning him an extended run at the top.
Suranga Lakmal destroys India’s top-order in impeccable spell
The right-arm pacer was bang on the money from the very first ball on an overcast day in Kolkata as he broke Rahul’s impressive run of fifties with a peach of a delivery which forced him to play at it.
A generous amount of away movement meant Rahul could only feather an edge behind as his golden run came to an end with a golden duck.
Lakmal would not let up on the batsmen all day during his six-over spell as he made the most of the prodigious movement on offer at the wicket.
He had the host batsmen constantly hopping and fending with some immaculate control of swing bowling and was duly rewarded with two more prized wickets in the form of Dhawan and Virat Kohli.
Dhawan’s stumps were rattled with an incoming delivery after he attempted an ambitious drive while Kohli was undone by a late in-swinger himself.
The remarkable thing was that Lakmal went for no runs in his entire spell, bowling six maiden overs on the trot.
Suranga Lakmal’s figures on Day 1:
— Cricket24.com (@Cricket24com) November 16, 2017
Kohli and India get the ideal preparation for South Africa
Before the start of the series, the Indian skipper had spoken about wanting Sri Lanka to make his side ‘uncomfortable’ in the three Tests.
With a tour of South Africa in mind, Kohli had spoken about the need to get the ideal preparation to be able to play in pressure situations at any part of the world.
He and his team got what they asked for and more on Thursday as Lakmal had the batsmen in all sorts of trouble on a relaid Kolkata pitch.
The wild swing, pace and bounce on offer seemed like something one would see on the grounds in South Africa and immediately the Indian batsmen were found wanting.
None of the batsmen looked in control on the opening day and this would have been an eye opener for the team management ahead of the tougher Tests that await them.
Know more about Sport360 Application