Zeecric Bureau/Sudeshna Guha Roy
Colombo: Bad light stopped the day’s play here at the P Sara Oval stadium as Sri Lanka called it a day with their scoreboard displaying 293/4 at stumps on the opening day of the third and the final Test against India on Tuesday.
Though ‘big scores’ eluded the Sri Lanka in their first innings, notable contributions by Tilakaratne Dilshan (41), Kumar Sangakkara (75), Mahela Jayawardene (56) and Thilan Samaraweera (65 not out) helped the team take the driver’s seat in the game so far.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Sri Lanka received an early jolt when Ishant Sharma claimed the priced wicket of star-opener Tharanga Paranavitana (8). The dismissal left islanders at 15/1 with just four overs into the game.
The early loss, however, did not hamper the Lankan moral as skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who later claimed his 33rd Test fifty, and Tilakaratne Dilshan continued with the batting campaign and took them beyond 100 with much ease.
As Sri Lanka celebrated crossing 100, India celebrated Dilshan’s dismissal. The Lankan opener lost his wicket due to a brilliant display of fielding by Murali Vijay at the silly point, thus, sending both the teams for lunch with the hosts’ scoreboard reading 102/2.
Resuming the game after lunch, Sangakkara, dropped once at 23, continued with his attack but his feat too was cut short when Virender Sehwag caught him at the long-on off a Pragyan Ojha delivery. He played a decent 75-run knock that came with the help of five boundaries and two sixes.
Post lunch, Sri Lanka also lost Jayawardene’s wicket which left them at 241/4. Jayawardene slammed his 36th Test fifty before being given lbw by umpire Rod Tucker on Pragyan Ojha, though the replay suggested the ball going over the stumps.
Soon after Jayawardene’s departure, Thilan Samaraweera raised his 23rd Test fifty.
Trailing the series by 1-0, it is a must win match for India as they decided to keep injured Harbhajan Singh out and invite Amit Mishra into the squad.
It was a special day for Sachin Tendulkar as he became the most capped Test player in the world.
India (Playing XI): Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Amit Mishra, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Tharanga Paranavitana, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara(c), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene(w), Suraj Randiv, Lasith Malinga, Chanaka Welegedara, Ajantha Mendis