Sri Lanka Board President's XI v Indians, Colombo, 1st day August 6, 2015

Rahane century holds Indians together

Indians 314 for 6 (Rahane 109*, Dhawan 62, Rajitha 3-47) v Sri Lanka Board President's XI
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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SL conditions will challenge batsmen - Rahane

A smooth Ajinkya Rahane century headed up a sturdy first outing for the Indians, who withstood occasionally testing fast bowling on a green surface to post 314 for 6 on the first day in Colombo. Shikhar Dhawan made a half-century, in a 108-run opening stand with KL Rahul, who fell in sight of his own fifty.

Only M Vijay did not bat, from among India's top seven. He is currently resting a strained hamstring, but is on track to play the first Test starting August 12. All 15 members of the squad are in play for the match.

Rahane eased into his innings with a drive down the ground to collect two from his first ball, before taking 12 from a Nisala Tharaka over soon after.  He quickly settled into a rhythm of risk-free runs into a lush outfield, largely untroubled by the seam movement that claimed the wickets of men around him. Occasionally, he broke the long, steady spells with bursts of aggression. Shortly after tea he hit seven fours inside 22 balls, during the course of which he reached his fifty. 

"I wanted to play my positive cricket," Rahane said of his innings. "My intent has been positive throughout the last one to two years, wherever I have played. I wanted to continue with that same intent. In our batting unit, everyone's intent is to look for runs."

When he returned to a more measured approach, Rahane was always adept at finding the off-side gaps, which allowed his strike rate to remain above 60. He was scoring off most balls by the end of the day, and will sit overnight on 109 from 127 deliveries.

Dhawan and Rahul had been circumspect to begin with, going scoreless in the first 23 balls of the day, as the Sri Lanka Board President's XI seamers induced movement from a full length. Rahul was particularly tentative, taking 67 balls to hit his first 20 runs.

The first session was survived without major incident, but the hosts made a brief charge in the afternoon. Rahul hit consecutive fours in Tharaka's tenth over, but fell attempting a third. He aimed a pull in front of square off a chest-high ball outside the off stump, but could only offer a thick top edge which settled in the hands of Danushka Gunathilaka in the slips.

Lahiru Gamage - the Board President's XI's most accomplished bowler - did not bowl before lunch, and he made his presence felt soon after he came to the bowling crease. An inducker found Virat Kohli's middle stump when the batsman was on 3, but that delivery was deemed a no ball for overstepping. While Gamage applied pressure from one end, wickets fell to Kasun Rajitha at the other. Rohit Sharma had been bowled for 7, and Kohli himself was gone for 8, sending an edge to second slip with an attempted cover drive. Dhawan was caught behind for 62 to give Rajitha three scalps in as many overs.

Rahane and Pujara quelled the opposition's surge, putting on 134 for the fifth wicket to raise the Indians from 133 for 4. Pujara was the more restrained of the two, soaking up plenty of dot balls in his 42 from 89. "Pujara batted pretty well," Rahane said. "He took his time and it is important to get one or two big partnerships in Test series because in one or two sessions, the game can change."

They each milked the developing legspin of Jeffrey Vandersay either side of tea, but Pujara was dismissed by the same bowler when he miscued a catch to short cover. Vandersay also had Wriddhiman Saha caught at slip for 3, late in the day.

R Ashwin remained unbeaten on 10 alongside Rahane when stumps were drawn.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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