1st Test: Sri Lanka v India at Galle, 14-18 Aug 2001|
India 1st innings:
DILHARA FERNANDO STRIKES LATE BLOWS AS INDIA FALTERDilhara Fernando struck two crucial blows with the new ball to reduce India to 161 for five in their first innings of the first Test at the Galle International Cricket Stadium.
The fast bowler bowling with the new ball dismissed Mohammed Kaif and Hemang Badani in the 82nd and 84th overs of the day.
Put into bat the Indians started off cautiously as they scored just 16 runs in the morning session in 20 overs.
But in the afternoon session the Indian openers grew in confidence and pushed the score to 95 for the loss of Sadagoppan Ramesh's wicket who was out for 42 off Muralitharan .
Though India were at the driver's seat in the first session, Sri Lanka bounced back after tea by claiming the crucial wickets of Shiv Sunder Das and Rahul Dravid. Das made 40 while Dravid made 12. Murali dismissed Dravid while Vaas accounted for the wicket of Das.
India's 150 came in the 78th over of the match with skipper Sourav Ganguly and Mohammed Kaif at the middle. Just before the end of play Sanath Jayasuriya decided to take the new ball in the 82nd over of the day. Dilhara Fernando immediately bowled Kaif who was beaten for pace. The right-hander made 37 in 172 minutes and 144 balls with two fours.
With the new ball taken, Chaminda Vaas was brought on from the City End in place of Muralitharan (8-1-11-1).
Fernando, who had dismissed Kaif in the previous over struck another crucial blow when he had Hemang Badani caught behind by wicketkeeper Kumara Sangakkara. The batsman flashed at a delivery and was easily caught by Sangakkara.
With the light fading away play was called off for the day with India on 161 for five with five overs to be bowled.
India lost opener Shiv Sunder Das and star batsman Rahul Dravid after tea. Captain Sourav Ganguly (2*) and Mohammed Kaif (24*) are now at the crease with 16 overs remaining in the day.
Play started 24 minutes late after tea because of the second rain interruption of the day.
Muttiah Muralitharan started proceedings from the Old Dutch Fort End, but bowled just over, after which Suresh Perera cam on for the three over burst.
India’s 100 runs came up in the 58th over of the innings.
Shiv Sunder Das was dropped by a diving Hashan Tillakaratne in the gully off the bowling of Chaminda Vaas with the batsman on 37, but Vaas dismissed him in his next over anyhow.
Das pushed at a delivery on off stump, was surprised by some extra bounce and was easily caught by Jayasuriya at first slip.
Das made 40 in 252 minutes and 147 balls with one boundary. India were 105 for two after a 26 run partnership for the second wicket.
As expected Rahul Dravid, who has been batting at number six recently, moved up the order to bat at number four.
He looked composed and played elegantly, pulling and driving the bowlers whenever they erred in length.
He was though dropped by Suresh Perera at mid-off when on 10 off the bowling of Dilhara Fernando, who had replaced Perera from the Fort End.
Muttiah Muralitharan came from back from the City End replacing Chaminda Vaas (5-1-10-1).
He struck immediately when Rahul Dravid offered a bat pad catch to Russel Arnold at silly-mid off. The right-hander came out of the crease and tried to work the off spinner to leg, but was caught off pat and pad as the ball ballooned up on the off side and was easily caught by Russel Arnold.
India nearly lost Mohammed Kaif as well shortly afterwards. The batsman edged a Ruchira Perera delivery to skipper Jayasuriya at first slip, but the ball fell just short of the Sri Lankan captain.
They did though lose one wicket, that of opener Sadagoppan Ramesh for 42, but they added 79 runs in the session and went into tea on 95 for one with Shiv Sunder Das on 37 and Mohammed Kaif on eight. Not a bad position for a side put in to bat on a controversial green top.
Even against the spin of Muttiah Muralitharan, which Ramesh, Das and Kaif were facing for the first time ever, they played confidently. Muralitharan bowled a 12 over spell from the City End.
Suresh Perera bowled a six spell in the second hour (6-0-16-0). Occasionally wayward, he also troubled the batsmen from time to time. Like his colleagues though he bowled a touch too short and wide.
Muralitharan finally broke through. Bowling around the wicket to the left handed Ramesh he induced a loose drive and had him caught at short extra cover by captain Jayasuriya.
The Tamil Nadu batsman had scored 42 from 127 balls in three hours of batting and had hit just two boundaries. The openers had added 79 for the first wicket.
Right handed Mohammed Kaif from Uttar Pradesh, playing only his second Test walked in to face Muralitharan. He immediately signaled a willingness to use his feet, but also batted slowly, scoring eight from 52 balls.
Left arm fast bowler Ruchira Perera took on the bowling from the Old Dutch Fort End and once he settled in, he beat Das on more than one occasion without finding the edge of the bat.
Dilhara Fernando came back for a three over burst just before the tea interval. Chaminda Vaas came on in place of Muralitharan for two overs and bowled two maidens.
Das has played a controlled innings so far and hit his first boundary after nearly four hours at the crease. Das remained unbeaten on 37 from 163 balls at tea and India were 95/1.
Dilhara Fernando, who bowled from Press Box End in the morning, bowled the first over after lunch from the Old Dutch Fort End. In his very first delivery he had a loud leg-before shout turned down by umpire Asoka de Silva.
Both the Das and Ramesh continued to show good judgement, refusing to play at deliveries bowled wide of their off stump. Ramesh was the more fluent of two and picked up runs when the bowlers erred onto his pads.
The first boundary only came in 28th over after 127 minutes when Ramesh dexterously flicked Chaminda Vaas to the mid-wicket boundary.
The temperament of the Indian openers was tested by both Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando, who used the short ball frequently. Both batsmen, however, opted to duck underneath the ball rather than hook.
The Indian fifty came up after 27.1 overs with Das on 17 and Ramesh on 29.
The closest Sri Lanka came to a breakthrough came when Das edged a rising delivery from Fernando just over the outstretched hand of Mahela Jayawardene. Das had scored 15 at the time.
Muralitharan has now returned from the City End after a four over burst from Vaas after lunch.
Sri Lanka may be starting to rue their decision to bowl first on a wicket that is proving to be a good batting track
Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya, who made the decision to put the opposition in to bat, used all his five specialist bowlers, but none were able to extract the degree of lateral movement that had been anticipated.
India opened with Shiv Sunder Das and Sadagoppan Ramesh while Sri Lanka started with Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando.
After 18 minutes of play, with the visitors on one for none, rain held up play for 35 minutes.
The Sri Lankan new ball bowlers bowled an accurate line and length and the Indian openers started cautiously against the new ball.
Vaas bowled with four slips and a gully while Fernando had three slips and two gullies. At one stage Jayasuriya had nine fieldsmen in catching positions.
Fernando, the fastest bowler in Sri Lanka, bowled with lot of pace and beat the left-handed Ramesh a couple of times in his fourth over.
In the next over, the bowler surprised Das by a sharp rising delivery and the batsman gloved the ball in the air but, at that time, there was no fielder in the silly-mid-off area.
India scored just one run in the first five overs and six in the first ten.
Vaas was replaced by fellow left-arm fast bowler Ruchira Perera in the eleventh over. His first five cost just two runs and four of his overs were maidens.
Sri Lankan captain, Sanath Jayasuriya, desperate to make a breakthrough having put the opposition in, introduced his main weapon, Muttiah Muralitharan as early as in the 15th over of the match from the Press Box End, replacing Dilhara Fernando who had figures of 7-2-5-0 in his first spell.
Both Das and Ramesh, facing Sri Lanka’s strike bowler for the first time in their career, played him cautiously in his three overs before lunch.
Jayasuriya introduced Suresh Perera in the 18th over of the match from the Old Dutch Fort End for one over before lunch.
The decision caused some surprise, as Sri Lanka already have three fast bowlers in their side: Chaminda Vaas, Ruchira Perera and Dilhara Fernando. They now have four seamers on a pitch that traditionally favours the spinners 80 per cent of the wickets taken in Galle’s five - match history have fallen to slow bowlers.
Suresh Perera will be playing his second Test match. His first was against England at the Oval in 1998.
This pitch, however, is green in colour and has more grass than any previous surface seen at Galle. With the pitch also dry and hard it is expected to offer the fast bowlers pace and bounce.
The side winning the toss was always likely to ask the other to bat first, and Sri Lanka duly did so (Jayasuriya has now won the toss in 18 of the 22 Tests he has captained), but it could well have been a good toss to lose. The ball may jag around in the opening overs, but thereafter the stroke players should benefit from the ball coming onto the bat.
Sri Lanka have asked Kumar Sangakkara to keep wickets and bat number three, a dual role he also undertook in the England Test series earlier this year.
India left out fast bowler Harvinder Singh from the 12-man squad they announced yesterday. Venkatesh Prasad will therefore be the third seamer.
Mohammad Kaif is expected to bat at number three, Rahul Dravid at four, Sourav Ganguly at five and the left handed Hemang Badani at six.
The teams: Sri Lanka: ST Jayasuriya, MS Atapattu, K Sangakkara, DPMD Jayawardene, RP Arnold, H Tillakaratne, ASA Perera, WPUJC Vaas, CRD Fernando, M Muralitharan, PDRL Perera
India: SC Ganguly, S Ramesh, SS Das, M Kaif, R Dravid, HK Badani, SS Dighe, Harbhajan Singh, J Srinath, BKV. Prasad, Z Khan
Date-stamped : 14 Aug2001 - 18:25