Cheteshwar Pujara 7, Virat Kohli 0; Malinda Pushpakumara (2/12).
The opener also praised Pushpakumara who got both he and opening partner Lokesh Rahul out. It was firmly struck off the middle of the bat. Rahul settled down quickly on an easy-paced wicket with true bounce.
Earlier, his opening partner Rahul stamped his class in Test cricket with yet another half-century and joined an elite list of cricketers to hit most consecutive fifty-plus scores. He tried to take on the spinner in his first over but failed.
Ace India opener KL Rahul may have equalled a world record during India's first innings in the third Test against Sri Lanka, but the right-hander has made it perfectly clear on Sunday that he is not happy with it.
Dhawan was at his fluent best and barely looked in trouble apart from a reprieve he got when he was on one, as his edge went through the slip cordon off left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando. However, India will find it hard to do so as they aren't familiar with the conditions in Pallekele.
Dhawan remained confident that the remaining batsmen for India would be able to build an imposing total.
It meant Pandya, who began the day's play on 1, became the second Indian batsman in the series to score a century in a session, after Shikhar Dhawan on the first day of the first Test in Galle.
Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal also said that he would also have proffered to bat first had he won the toss.
Lanka have brought in Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage in place of injured Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep. For two days in the lead up to the final Test, showers were a constant feature in Kandy, so much so that the team had to cancel their routine pre-match practice session on Friday.
On chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who is tipped to replace the Saurashtra player, Kohli said: "A guy like Kuldeep Yadav is willing to bowl in any situation".
It was also the second fastest Test hundred overseas by an Indian batsman, second to Virender Sehwag's 78-ball effort against West Indies at Gros Islet in 2006. While Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli could not score heavily in the second Test, the two have hundreds against their name in the first.
WICKET! Hardik Pandya traps Angelo Mathews before the stumps. Oh, Sri Lanka, how can you! Why, to be in Sri Lanka and not be greeted by giant cut-outs of Mahinda Rajapaksa is slightly eerie. Axar is yet to make his Test debut and his selection circulated around his sensational performance in the 50-over tri-series in South Africa for India A. He scalped seven wickets in four matches with an economy rate of 4.11. They are intelligent so you don't get too many of such questions.
Having survived that, though, Kuldeep put his head down and ground out 26 off 73 balls to help add 62 for the eighth wicket with Pandya.