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2nd Test: India v Sri Lanka, Match Report
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 9-13 August 1997

Day 2: Sachin's century stalls Lanka's victory hopes

Sri Lanka's bid to force a win in the second cricket Test was stalled by Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar, who hit his second successive century of the series on the second day of play at the SSC grounds Sunday.

Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 117, his 13th Test century and his fourth against Sri Lanka, to steer India to 226 for four wickets by the close in reply to Sri Lanka's 332.

The high-class right-hander helped India recover from a disastrous start of losing two wickets for nine runs by sharing in two face-saving partnership with Navjot Sidhu and Saurav Ganguly.

After Ajay Jadeja (1) and Rahul Dravid (2) had fallen to Sri Lanka's left-arm pace, duo Chaminda Vaas and Sajeeva de Silva, Sidhu and Tendulkar added 72 for the third wicket.

Sidhu made only 29 before giving the charge to off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and being stumped by wicket-keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana.

Left-hander Ganguly who came at the fall of Mohammed Azharuddin's wicket for 22 in the second over after the tea break, kept Tendulkar company until the close, adding exactly 100 runs for the fifth wicket. Ganguly's share in the partnership so far is 47 in 158 minutes with six fours.

The Indian captain had his share of luck while reaching his century. He was dropped by his opposite number Arjuna Ranatunga at 34 before moving on to three figures with his 13th four in 241 minutes. He faced 154 balls.

Ranatunga who dived to his left in an attempt to catch the Indian captain off Pushpakumara when the score was 61, did not take the field thereafter. He was nursing a sore left thumb which was being treated with ice.

Orissa State's first test cricketer Debasis Mohanty took four wickets on his debut to wrap up the Sri Lanka first innings for 332.

Sri Lanka resuming at 316 for 7 lost their remaining wickets in 38 minutes with the 21-year-old Mohanty adding the scalp of top scorer Aravinda de Silva to his impressive collection.

Mohanty, who had already picked up the wickets of world record breakers Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama on the first day, forced De Silva to edge a catch to wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia after adding only two runs to his overnight total of 144.

The Sri Lanka vice-captain batted a total of 365 minutes and faced 228 balls, hitting 20 fours in compiling his 13th Test century.

Muttiah Muralitharan, who figures in a useful 48-run eighth wicket stand with De Silva, fell to leg-spinner Anil Kumble for 39 - his highest Test score, beating the previous best of 26 against New Zealand at Dunedin early this year.

Mohanty terminated the Sri Lanka innings by yorking Pushpakumara for nought to finish with figures of 4 for 78.

Day 4: Lanka is strong position

Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva continued their dominance of ten Indian bowling when they hit a century apiece as Sri Lanka set up new batting records in the short series of two Tests, at the SSC grounds yesterday

The left-handed opener who carved out a memorable 340 in the drawn first Test at the R. Premadasa Stadium, blasted another big hundred yesterday - 199 as Sri Lanka declared their second innings at 415 for 7 wickets and set India a winning target of 373 runs for victory off a minimum of 103 overs. India were 49 for no loss at stumps.

Positive reply

By stumps on the penultimate day, India had made a positive reply with their openers Ajay Jadeja (35) and Navjot Sidhu (12) posting 49 runs off 13 overs.

Jayasuriya was joined in the run-spree by Sri Lanka vice-captain De Silva, who scored a century in each innings of a Test for the second time in his illustrious career when he followed his first innings 146 with 120.

De Silva is the only player in the world to score unbeaten centuries in each innings of a Test, when he made 138 (not out) and 103 (not out) against Pakistan on this ground in April this year.

Aravinda joins greats

By scoring a century in each innings twice, de Silva joined past cricketing greats as Clyde Walcott (West Indies), Herbert Sutcliffe (England). George Hedley (West Indies), Greg Chappell and Allan Border (both Australia) as those who had done so before him. India's Sunil Gavaskar stands alone as the only batsman to do it thrice in a career.

After shaky start when he almost skied a catch to mid-off and was bowled off a Abey Kuruvila no-ball, de Silva got into his stride to strike 13 fours in a stay of 267 minutes during which period he faced 197 balls. Sri Lanka declared no sooner he was dismissed skying a catch to substitute fielder Vinod Kambli at deep extra cover.


De Silva and Jayasuriya put together Sri Lanka's highest third wicket partnership against any country when they added 218 runs in 211 minutes. The stand improved on the previous highest of 176 for the wicket between Chandika Hathurusingha and De Silva against Pakistan at Faisalabad in 1995-96. The partnership was also the highest for the third wicket against India beating the 153 between Roy Dias and Duleep Mendis at Madras in 1982-83.

In another chanceless display Jayasuriya slammed the Indian bowling to all parts of the field hitting 21 fours and two sixes in a stay of 419 minutes for his 199. He faced 226 balls and at one stage, was in line to score the fastest double century in Test cricket which is 220 balls by England's Ian Botham against India at the Oval in 1982.

First batsman

When he had made 85 runs, Jayasuriya became the first batsman for the calendar year of 1977 to pass 1000 runs in Test matches. By the time he was dismissed, bowled off his pads by Abey Kuruvila, Jayasuriya had taken his tally for the year to 1114 runs from eight tests (15 innings).

Jayasuriya has three more tests in India before the end of the year to beat the all-time aggregate for a calendar year of 1710 runs scored by West Indian Viv Richards in 1976.

De Silva missed by seven runs to join Jayasuriya in topping 1000 runs for the calendar year of 1997.

Day 5: Sri Lanka's poor fielding let them down

Brilliant fielding for which Sri Lanka are renowned for throughout the world proved to be their downfall on the final day of the Second Cricket Test when they allowed India to escape with a draw at the SSC grounds yesterday.

Sri Lanka missed former captain Mohammad Azharuddin three times, and he went on to score an unbeaten 108 and steer India to the safety of a draw.

Minimum overs

India set 373 runs for victory off a minimum of 103 overs finished on 281 for five wickets off 100 overs, to draw the two-Test series. The first Test at the R. Premadasa Stadium too ended in a draw.

Azharuddin, the veteran of 85 Tests, put India safe from defeat after Sri Lanka had grabbed two wickets in each of the first two sessions.

The 34-year-old right-hander proved a point to the Indian selectors that he had plenty of cricket and runs left in him by scoring his second century in the series.


Following the tour of West Indies, Azharuddin was dropped rather surprisingly for India's Independence Cup tournament. He was recalled for the tour of Sri Lanka after India failed to qualify for the final, and has been in the runs since his arrival here for the Pepsi Asia Cup tournament last month.

Azharuddin chanced his luck to complete his 19th Test century, and during his 227 minutes at the wicket, he made Sri Lanka pay for the lapses dearly.

Off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan dropped a hard return catch when Azharuddin was on 12. At 40 in the penultimate over before tea, wicket-keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana put down a 'sitter' as Azharuddin attempted a cut off Sanath Jayasuriya and got an outside edge.


Jayasuriya himself missed Azharuddin off his own bowling after tea at 51, when his outstretched hands managed to get only the fingertips to a drive.

Azharuddin hit 14 fours off 175 balls in his face-saving knock and shared a 110-run fifth wicket stand with left-hander Saurav Ganguly to put the match out of Sri Lanka's reach.

Sri Lanka began the day promisingly by having Navjot Sidhu caught off the outside edge at slip for 16 in the fourth over of the morning.

Rahul Dravid also fell cheaply for six, caught of bat and pad to leave India at 75 for two.

Easy catch

Further success followed when Sri Lanka grabbed the prize wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for eight with the score on 100. The Indian captain, caught in two minds, hit an easy catch to mid-on off Muralitharan.

Sri Lanka also took the wicket of opening bat Ajay Jadeja before tea for 73, when he edged a catch to gully off Sajeeva de Silva. Jadeja batted 254 minutes and hit eight fours. The wicket fell at 138.

Sri Lanka had to wait for 132 minutes before further success came their way with the dismissal of Ganguly for 45. By then India were safe from defeat.

Eight fours

Ganguly, who hit eight fours, was caught off the outside edge by Kaluwitharana to give the persevering Muralitharan his third wicket.

Aravinda de Silva, with a century in each innings, was picked the ''Man of the Match'', Sanath Jayasuriya with a batting average of 190.33 which included scores of 340 and 199 took the ''Man of the Series'' award.

The two sides next meet in a series of three one-day internationals beginning on Monday at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

Source: The Daily News