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1st Test: India v Sri Lanka, Match Report
2-6 August 1997

Day 1: Sidhu century helps India to take control of Test
Ranjan Anandappa

Opener Navjoth Singh Sidhu hit his eighth Test hundred (111) and the third against Sri Lanka as the Indian batsmen assumed command and marched relentlessly towards a big first innings score, end- ing the first day of the First cricket Test between Sri Lanka at 280 for 3 wickets at the R. Premadasa Stadium, Khettarama yester- day.

On a typical Khettarama pitch which gave token assitance to the bowlers, the homesters had to toil hard to purchase anything worthwhile from the pitch. At the initial stages, even stroke making looked difficult as the Indians won the toss and elected to bat.

Although India lost an early wicket that of keeper Nayan Mongia (7) giving Mahela Jayawardena his maiden Test catch in the slips with the total at 36, the Lankans had to wait for a considerable amount of time to get another breakthrough.

Rahul Dravid and Sidhu batted with steady growing confidence and they added 147 runs off 47.4 overs for the second wicket in im- peccable fashion. Arjuna Ranatunga kept on switching his bowlers in an attempt to induce the pair into errors, the only way they could have broken the alliance, but the pair batted with assur- ance for 260 minutes when Sidhu slashed one to be caught behind by Kaluwitharana off Vaas. Sidhu faced 200 deliveries and had twelve fours and two sixes off Muralitharan.

Skipper Tendulkar joined by Dravid added a further 47 runs for the third wicket when Dravid was trifle unlucky - caught and bowled by Sanath Jayasuriya after the ball flew off Marvan Atap- attu's leg while taking evasive action at silly mid off to a pow- erful cover drive. Dravid defied the Sri Lankan attack for 252 minutes and his 69, had ten fours after facing 197 balls.

Indian skipper Sachin Tendulkar, needing a big innings, gave glimpses of his form remaining unbeaten on 65 with Azharuddin. Tendulkar regaled the sparse crowd with some blissful strokeplay, hitting Chaminda Vaas (four fours in an over) which yielded 19 runs in his second over after taking the new ball. Tendulkar's unbeaten 65 had thirteen fours off 92 balls.

Tendulkar and Azharuddin were engaged in an unbeaten third wicket stand of 50 off 72 balls.

The Test match saw two debutants Nilesh Kulkarni (India) and Ma- hela Jayawardena (Sri Lanka). 24-year-old left arm spinner Ku- lakarni is the tallest member of the side who had a suceessful Ranji Trophy season and Jayawardena a 20-year-old youngster after a fine domestic season and a distinguished school career has fought his way to the highest level.

Jayawardena recorded a century against the England under-19 and the South African 'A' side which included Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis and Lance Klusner.

Day 3: Sri Lanka record for any wicket in Tests
Sa'adi Thawfeeq

Sanath, Roshan hit 'tons'

Records continued to take a beating on the benign R. Premadasa Stadium pitch as Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama estab- lished an all-time Sri Lanka record for any wicket in Test crick- et on the third day of the First Cricket Test against India yes- terday.

Left-hander Jayasuriya made an immaculate unbeaten 175 and Ma- hanama, an undefeated 115 as they carried Sri Lanka to 322 for one wicket by the close in reply to India's 537 for 8 declared.


The pair blunted the Indian bowling by sharing an unfinished sec- ond wicket partnership of 283 runs in 376 minutes, which is easi- ly the best by any Sri Lankan batsmen in the 75 Tests played to- date. The stand beat the previous highest of 240 (unbroken) for the fourth wicket by Asanka Gurusinha andd Arjuna Ranatunga against Pakistan at the Sara Stadium in 1985-86.

On that occasion, the pair batted throughout the final day, and yesterday Jayasuriya and Mahanama emulated their feat by going through the entire third day without being dismissed.

With only 16 runs required by the Sri Lanka to make India bat again, the game looks as good as a tame draw, unless something startling takes place in the next two days. For Jayasuriya who has batted very comfortably against the Indian pace cum spin com- bination, it is a very fine opportunity to go after West Indian Brian Lara's world record score of 375. To achieve that he may have to carry his innings onto the fifth and final day.

By stumps yesterday, Jayasuriya had batted 418 minutes and faced 299 balls hitting 20 fours, while Mahanama had faced 277 balls and reached the boundary on 14 occasions.

Third morning

The pair came together at the start of the third morning, after Marvan Atapattu had been dismissed for 26 the previous day.

The only chance that came India's way in a totally unsuccessful day was muffed up by wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia towards the end of play. Mahanama stepping out to drive Rajesh Chauhan, got an edge but Mongia not only missed the catch but also a possible stumping. Mahanama at that stage was on 109. Otherwise, India's bowlers were made to toil hard as neither batsmen took any undue risks, but played the bowling on its merits. PARTNERSHIP

The partnership between Jayasuriya and Mahanama was also the highest-ever in a Sri Lanka - India Test series beating the 272 for the sixth wicket between Mohammad Azharuddin and Kapil Dev at Kanpur in 1986-87.

The stand also surpassed Sri Lanka's previous highest second wicket stand of 217 held by two pairs.

Sidath Wettimuny and Roy Dias put on 217 against Pakistan at Faisalabad in 1981-82 and 13 years later Asanka Gurusinha and Sanjeeva Ranatunga put together a similar partnership against Zimbabwe at Harare.

Third test - 'Ton'

Jayasuriya completed his third Test century in fine style moving from 85 to 101 in five scoring strokes (2,4,4,4,2) taking 16 runs off Test debutant Nilesh Kulkarni's 14th over. It took Jayasuriya 201 minutes and came off 138 balls with 14 fours.

The 24-year-old left-arm spinner took a wicket off his first delivery in Test cricket by dismissing Atapattu on the second day.

Jayasuriya's 150 was reached in 320 minutes off 235 balls with 19 fours. It was easily his best in a 26-Test career beating the 113 he scored against Pakistan at the SSC in April this year.

Supporting role

Mahanama playing the supporting role completed only his fourth century in 44 Tests when he pulled Prasad for his 12th four. He batted 345 minutes and faced 244 balls.

It was Mahanama's first hundred for Sri Lanka in four years, the last being 151 against India at the Sara Stadium.

Day 4: Records tumble as Jayasuriya and Mahanama bat on
Sa'adi Thawfeeq

Sanath Jayasuriya proved to the cricket world that he is not only the most feared opening batsman in one-day cricket, but equally so in the longer game when he hit a monumental triple century against India in the first cricket Test played at the R. Pre- madasa Stadium yesterday.

The 28-year-old left-handed dasher who hails from Matara, became his country's highest scorer in Test cricket when he hit an im- peccable 326 not out and shared an unfinished world record part- nership for any wicket of 548 runs with Roshan Mahanama, who scored an unbeaten 211.

First occasion

It was the first occasion that a Sri Lankan had gone past the three hundred run mark in any level of cricket. The previous highest Test score for Sri Lanka was 267 by Aravinda de Silva against New Zealand at Wellington in 1990-91.

Jayasuriya and Mahanama who began their liaison at the start of the third morning of the Test, have now batted throughout two successive days providing only the second instance in Test crick- et of a similar occasion.

West Indian pair Garry Sobers and Frank Worrell were the only pair before yesterday to bat throughout two consecutive days per- forming it against England at Bridgetown in 1959-60.

The Jayasuriya Mahanama stand rewrote the record books when they eclipsed the previous highest for any wicket in TEST cricket of 467 for the third wicket by New Zealand pair, Andrew Jones and Martin Crowe against Sri Lanka at Wellington in 1990-91.

Jayasuriya completed his triple century by on driving left-arm spinner Nilesh Kulkarni to long-on for his 32nd four. It took him 723 minutes and 518 balls and also comprised one six.

By the close Jayasuriya was just 50 runs away from breaking West Indian Brian Lara's world record score of 375 made against Eng- land at St. John's in 1993-94.

Jayasuriya's partnership of 548 with Mahanama is also a world record in first-class cricket for the second wicket beating the 475 between Zahir Alam and Lalchand Rajput for Assam v Tripura at Guahati in 1991-92.

The partnership also established a world Test record for the sec- ond wicket surpassing Australian Bill Ponsford and Don Bradman's stand of 451 against England at the Oval in 1934.

Supporting role

Mahanama playing a fine supporting role and rotating the strike with Jayasuriya surpassed his previous highest Test score of 153 made against New Zealand at Moratuwa in 1992-93.

By the close he had batted 740 Minutes for his 211 and faced 551 balls hitting 25 fours.

By batting throughout two days the pair have not only proved their cricketing skills but also displayed a lot of patience and stamina to carry on for yet another day.

400 runs partnerships in Test cricket

548 2nd wkt S.T. Jayasuriya (326*)/ R.S. Mahanama (211) SL v I (R. Premadasa Stadium) 1997/98

467 3rd wkt A.H. Jones (186)/ M.D. Crowe (299), NZ v SL (Welling- ton) 1990-91

451 2nd wkt W.H. Ponsford (266)/ D.G. Bradman (244), A v E (Oval) 1934

451 3rd wkt Mudassar Nazar (231/ Javed Miandad (280*). P v I (Hyderabad) 1982 83

446 2nd wkt C.C. Hunte (260)/ G.S. Sobers (365*), WI v P (Kingston) 1957 58

413 1st wkt V. Mankad (231)/ P.Roy (173) I v NZ (Madras 1955-56

411 4th wkt P.B.H. May (285*/ M.C. Cowdrey (154), E v WI (Birmingham) 1957

405 4th wkt S.G. Barnes (234)/ D.G. Bradman (224), A v E (Sydney) 1946 47

* unfinished


Triple Centurions in Test cricket

375 B.C. Lara, WI v E (St. John's) 1993-94

365* G.S. Sobers, WI v P (Kingston) 1957-58

364 L. Hutton, E v A (The Oval) 1938

337 Hanif Mohammad, P v WI (Bridgetown) 1957-58

336* W.R. Hammond, E v NZ (Auckland) 1932-33

334 D.G. Bradman, A v E (Leeds) 1930

333 G.A. Gooch, E v I (Lord's) 1990

326* S.T. Jayasurya, SL v I (R. Premadas Stadium) 1997-98

325 A. Sandham, E v WI (Kingston) 1929-30

311 R.B. Simpson, A v E (Manchester) 1964

310* J.H. Edrich, E v NZ (Leeds) 1965

307 R.M. Cowper, A v E (Melbourne) 1965-66

304 D.G. Bradman, A v E (Leeds) 1934

302 L. G. Rowe, WI v E (Bridgetown) 1973-74

*Signifies not out

Day 5: Jayasuriya misses Lara's record - Sri Lanka makes highest Test total
Sa'adi Thawfeeq

After all the excitement generated in the past 24 hours of Sri Lanka's champion opener Sanath Jayasuriya attempting to break West Indian Brian Lara's world record score of 375, it all boiled down to nothing.

What the 30,000 odd spectators admitted in free were left to rel- ish were two world records; for any wicket in Test cricket, and the highest-ever total ever made in a Test.

After five days of record-breaking performances at the R. Pre- madasa Stadium where the first Test between Sri Lanka and India ended in a draw, the eventual winner was not the game of cricket, but the pitch.

Had it not been for the interest produced by Jayasuriya going for Lara's world record and for the world record partnership between Jayasuriya and Mahanama, which produced 576 runs for the second wicket, this Test could easily have been played to almost empty stadium.

Pitches of this nature are not going to encourage Sri Lanka to produce match winning bowlers if they are to become a force in the longer game by the year 2000.

Unless the R. Premadasa Stadium pitch is relaid and made more competitive to both bowlers and batsmen, Test matches should not be played there.

Coming to the game, the disappointment of Jayasuriya not breaking Lara's record - he fell short by 40 runs was somewhat compensated by Sri Lanka hitting up the highest-ever total in Test history when they amassed 952 for six wickets on the fifth and final day yesterday.

After the first two days were occupied by India in compiling a total of 537 for 8 declared, Sri Lanka's batsmen dominated the final three days on a pitch which proved to be a heart-break for bowlers.

Jayasuriya made a monumental knock of 340 in 799 minutes off 578 balls with two sixes and 36 fours in an immaculate display of concentration and endurance with Mahanama, whose innings of 225 occupied 753 minutes (28 fours). They put on a world record stand for any wicket of 576 which would take some beating.

Even after their dismissals two balls of each other, the hapless Indian bowlers had no respite as vice-captain Aravinda de Silva (126), skipper Arjuna Ranatunga (86) and Test debutant Mahela Jayawardena (66) flayed them around for Sri Lanka to go past Eng- land's 59-year-old world record total of 903 for seven declared against Australia at the Oval.

De Silva completed his 12th Test century batting 293 minutes and facing 211 balls. He had 16 fours. With Ranatunga, whose 87 came off 110 balls with 14 fours. De Silva added 175 runs for the fourth wicket in 150 minutes. During the course of his innings, Ranatunga became the first Sri Lankan batsman to top the 4,000 run mark in Test cricket playing in his 70th match.

De Silva forged another century (131) stand with Jayawardena for the fifth wicket which took Sri Lanka past the world record total. Jayawardena was out for 66 scored in 133 minutes with 10 fours.

Jayasuriya began the day on 325 and confidently moved to 340 with three fours and two singles before popping up a simple catch to silly point fielder Saurav Ganguly. The ball from off-spinner Ra- jesh Chauhan bounced a little more than he anticipated and there- in ended Jaysuriya's chance of breaking the world record.

The anguish in Jayasuriya's face was quite evident as he hit the bat on the ground to convey his disappointment. All the Indian fielders ran to congratulate him as he departed with his head held down. They applauded him all the way to the pavilion from where he got a standing ovation.

Jayasuriya's marathon and chanceless innings of 340 was the fourth highest in test cricket, after Lara's 375, Garry Sobers' 365 (not out), and Len Hutton's 364.

Mahanama's departure in the previous over probably seemed to have an effect on Jayasuriya. Mahanama playing back to leg-spinner Anil Kumble was ruled out lbw.

Source: The Daily News