Left-arm spinner Jadeja was banned for one match for unsafe play in India's second Test win that secured the team an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. In their team, fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage have been added to Sri Lanka's squad for the third Test, while batsman Danushka Gunathilaka - who played in Galle - has been omitted.
With the first innings score stretched to 487, it was time for the Indian bowlers to take centerstage.
The visitors brought in left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in place of the suspended Ravindra Jadeja. At tea Sri Lanka were 61 for 4, and their downward slide continued in the final session as well.
Rahul, who also has four Test centuries to his name, was often criticised early in his Test career for his inconsistency has definitely turned a new leaf in what is still a very young and promising Test career.
Shikhar Dhawan scored his second hundred of the tour, while KL Rahul made a brisk 85.
Pandya had just reached his half-century when India lost their ninth wicket, some ten minutes before the scheduled lunch break. The bowlers and Pandya circled each other warily in this period; they knew of his hitting ability, he knew they knew, but for now he would bide his time.
That chance, in the 12th over, would be the last of the session.
Rahul entered record books by becoming the first Indian to join an exclusive club of batsmen who scored the most consecutive half-centuries in Test history. The home side's reply go off to a disastrous start when Upul Tharanga edged Shami to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha for five and inexplicably called for a review after consultation with opening partner Dimuth Karunaratne. Its hopes of preventing India from matching the 3-0 sweep by Ricky Ponting's Australia 13 years ago were diminished further by the decision to rest premier spinner Rangana Herath for the third test in Pallekele. Rahane soon succumbed on 17, ending his misery at the crease as Pushpakumara bowled him while he tried playing a cross batted shot. The final wicket of the day fell as Ashwin departed for 31 off a Vishwa Fernando delivery.
Another six in the next over, over midwicket off Sandakan, took him to 97, and the hundred came up with a straight drive off Kumara - a straight-bat push to the left of a diving mid-on. India will be lucky to get to 450 if the pitch stays the same overnight, which might not be a safe score considering the twin centuries from Sri Lankan batsmen under similar conditions in the previous Test. "We feel comfortable going into the test match even though we did not have a practice today", he added.