Dilshan lifts SL to 366/8 at stumps on Day 1
Zeecric Bureau/Pratik Dogra
Mumbai: The first day’s play offered an intriguing passage of play with a heady cocktail of high quality batting from Sri Lankan batsmen laced with a dash of some a spirited bowling from the Indian bowlers for most part of the day.
But by the time stumps were drawn to the day’s play, the Sri Lankans, at 366/8, seemed to be in a more advantageous position thanks to the gusty batting efforts from Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Matthews and Tharanga Paranavitana.
Dilshan slammed his 10th Test century, and second of the tour, to lay the foundation for a competitive first innings total for Sri Lanka.
On a pitch that provided good turn and bounce in the first session itself, Dilshan bartered his aggressive approach for a more solid one, anchoring the Sri Lankan innings with a fine 109 run-knock.
What he also ensured during his 160 ball stay was that there were enough substantial partnerships to deny India any sort of penetration.
In the morning, after Kumara Sangakkara won the toss and made the obvious choice of batting first, openers Dilshan and Paranavitana provided Sri Lanka a brisk start as they breezed past the 50-run mark in just the 11th over.
Paranavitana was the aggressor in the partnership as he brought up his first half-century outside of Sri Lanka.
Unfortunately for him though, he could not convert his star into a bigger score as he fell for 53 runs soon after.
Looking to drive Harbhajan Singh, the left-hander was done in by the ‘dip’, only to induce an edge and consequently a regulation catch for Rahul Dravid at first slip.
He hit 7 fours in his 81-ball stay, putting on 93 runs for the first wicket.
Dilshan, along with Sangakkara withheld Indian tweakers as Sri Lanka reached 117/1 at lunch.
After the break, Sangakkara’s wretched form with the bat was extended to one more innings when his Indian counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni took a neat catch down the leg-side as Pragyan Ojha claimed his first scalp of the match.
Sangakkara’s attemped leg glance culminated in a faint edge, drawing curtains to his patchy stay. He managed just 18 runs.
Sangakkara is yet to score a half-century on the Indian soil after 9 innings and his highest score remained a meager 44 runs.
Mahela Jayawardene then joined Dilshan in their bid to bat India out of contention on a pitch that was expected to heavily aid spin bowling as the match progressed.
They forged a 59-run association, but just when things seemed to be getting desperate for India, two quick wickets brought the hosts back into the match.
First, Kanpur Test hero Shantakumran Sreesanth nipped Jayawardene’s promising innings in the bud, outwitting the former Sri Lankan captain with some extra bounce, who ended up mis-timing his pull shot. Jayawardene fell for 29 runs.
In the very next over, Harbhajan bagged his second victim in form of Thilana Samaraveera’s wicket, thanks to a sharp bat-pad catch at short-leg by Murali Vijay.
Samaraweera could contribute only a single run to the Sri Lankan total.
With Sri Lanka at 213/4, the match seemed evenly poised at tea.
A partnership ensued again, that of 74 runs between Dilshan and Mathews before lady luck smiled on the hosts.
The match seemed to be steadily drifting away when Harbhajan’s Singh’s third strike claimed the day’s all-important wicket of centurion Dilshan.
Though the replay’s suggested otherwise, Dilshan was adjudged out to a bat and pad dismissal.
However, even after Dilshan’s dismissal, the Sri Lankan batsmen continued to make merry, striking boundaries at will. Mathews punished the Indian bowlers, helping himself to an unbeaten 86 at close.
It was the exuberance that cost Prasanna Jayawardene his wicket, but not before the keeper had chipped in with a valuable 43-run cameo.
Wickets of Nuwan Kulasekara and Rangana Herath to Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan respectively towards the fag end, allowed India to offset some of the gains made by Sri Lanka to some extent.
For India, Harbhajan was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4/107 from 29 overs while Ojha picked up 2/ 97 (23 overs).
Zaheer and Sreesanth picked up a wicket each.
Scorecard: India Vs Sri Lanka »
India lead the series 1-0 courtesy a comprehensive innings and 144-run victory at Kanpur last week, need another victory to go atop the ICC Test rankings while the Sri Lankans would be seeking their first ever Test win on Indian soil that would also help them square the series.
India made one change to their winning combination. Prolific opening batsman Gautam Gambhir wasn’t a part of the proceedings owing to his sister’s wedding and Tamil Nadu’s Murali Vijay took his place in the side.
Sri Lanka meanwhile dropped Ajantha Mendis in favor of medium pacer Nuwan Kulasekara.
India:V Sehwag, M Vijay, R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni*†, Harbhajan Singh, PP Ojha, Z Khan, S Sreesanth
Sri Lanka: TM Dilshan, NT Paranavitana, KC Sangakkara*, DPMD Jayawardene, TT Samaraweera, AD Mathews, HAPW Jayawardene†, KMDN Kulasekara, HMRKB Herath, M Muralitharan, UWMBCA Welegedara
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