COLOMBO: Skipper Virat Kohli and Lokesh Rahul helped India recover from a shaky start to reach 97 for two wickets at lunch on the opening day of the second test against Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval today.

Dhammika Prasad's early burst reduced India to 12-2 in the fifth over as the visitors' decision to bat first in Sri Lankan batting stalwart Kumar Sangakkara's farewell test had threatened to backfire.

Kohli (48) and opener Lokesh Rahul (39) added 85 runs for the flourishing third wicket to steady the innings in a see-saw morning session.

Paceman Prasad jolted India early, trapping Murali Vijay leg before wicket with a length delivery in the first over before inducing Ajinkya Rahane, promoted to number three, into pushing at a wide delivery to perish in the slips.

India could have slumped to 20-3 but Jehan Mubarak spilled Rahul at gully off Dushmantha Chameera.

Kohli, however, looked assured at the other end.

The right-handed batsman showed his positive intent by stepping out of his crease to hit left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who destroyed India in the second innings of the opening test, over his head for the only six of the innings to date.

India made three changes to the team which imploded at Galle to allow the hosts to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, bringing in Vijay, paceman Umesh Yadav and all-rounder Stuart Binny.

Those missing out were Shikhar Dhawan, who has been ruled out of the series with a fractured hand, Varun Aaron and Harbhajan Singh.

Sri Lanka replaced the injured Nuwan Pradeep with Chameera in the 134th and final test for Sangakkara, who was given a guard of honour before the start of play. The 37-year-old batsman has scored 12,350 test runs at an average of 57.71.