2nd Test: Sri Lanka v India at Kandy, 22-26 Aug 2001|
Rex Clementine Fernando
India 1st innings:
Sri Lanka 1st innings:
Sri Lanka 2nd innings:
India 2nd innings:
INDIA WIN SECOND TEST AND SQUARE SERIESIndia beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets to win the second Test just before tea on the fourth day. Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly was in the middle when the winning runs were scored. He made an unbeaten 98 with 15 boundaries. With him was Mohammed Kaif on 19..
Skipper Ganguly who has had a torrid time with the bat this year, scoring a mere 160 runs with a best of 48 in seven Tests finally returned to form. His 50 came in 127 minutes off 106 balls with eight fours.
Runs for the captain wouldn’t have come at a better time. Once he had a hit in the middle, Ganguly looked very much is former self and those sweetly timed boundaries through point returned.
He was also helped by some ordinary fielding by Sri Lanka. Earlier Muttiah Muralitharan dropped a difficult chance offered by Ganguly at backward of point before he had made the 50 and then Russel Arnold dropped a straightforward chance fielding at second slip off the bowling of Dilhara Fernando with the Indian captain on 59 the side on 218.
Mohammed Kaif, who joined Ganguly after the fall of Dravid, put up a 50 runs for the fourth wicket in 52 balls and 68 minutes.
India’s 250 came in 70.4 overs and 231 minutes.
Earlier Dravid and Ganguly brought up their 50 run partnership in 70 minutes and 93 balls sooon after lunch.
Sri Lanka could have seen the back of Ganguly if Muralitharan fielding at backward point had held on to a difficult chance off the bowling of Chaminda Vaas. The batsman playing a cut shot, hit the ball in the air, and Muralitharan dived to his right and got a hand to the ball but couldn’t grab the chance.
Murali’s second over after lunch was hit for 12 runs. Of the 12 runs, two were scored off boundaries by Ganguly. The first a drive through extra cover and the second a cut to the third man.
Muralitharan’s three over after lunch cost 20 runs and was he replaced by skipper Sanath Jayasuriya.
But Jayasuriya who bowls left-arm spin, bowled just two overs and brought back his main weapon, Muralitharan. He struck immediately by taking the prize scalp of Rahul Dravid. The Indian vice-captain played forward and the ball hit his pad and then the bat and went straight into the hands of Russel Arnold at silly mid-off.
Dravid made a fine 75 in 184 minutes and 123 balls with 12 fours. Dravid along with Ganguly had put on 91 runs for the third wicket in 110 minutes.
India scored 96 runs in the session to leave them well placed on 151 for one chasing 264 for victory. India now need 113 runs level this three-Test series.
Dravid has looked India’s best batsman on this tour and he was always likely to be the linchpin in this run chase. He has scored 59 from 93 balls so far and hit nine boundaries.
This was the right-hander’s 21st Test fifty in 47 matches.
Since the fall of Sadogoppan Ramesh, Dravid has been given excellent support by Ganguly, who has scored 25 from 55 balls, his highest score of the tour so far.
India only lost Sadagoppan Ramesh this morning, who caught at first slip for 31 off Dilhara Fernando.
Muralitharan bowled eleven overs in all this morning, eight from the Hunnasgiri End and three from Hanthan End (11-2-33-0).
Umlike in Galle, when the Indian batsmen were virtually strokeless against the wily off spinner, Dravid and Ganguly have remained positive, particularly when he has dropped short.
Dravid reached his fifty with a delicate leg glance off Ruchira Perera for two and followed it with the shot of the day: a resounding pull in front of square that whistled to the boundary. It summed up his authority.
Jayasuriya, increasingly desperate to break this crucial partnership, threw the ball to all rounder Suresh Perera for the first time in the Indian second innings just before lunch.
He was unable to make an impression as he struggled with his line and was handsomely driven through the off side by Ganguly in his third over to bring up the 150.
India are now clear favourites. The Sri Lankan fast bowlers have so far failed to make an impression and have been able to replicate the sideways movement that Venkatesh Prasad and Zaheer Khan extracted yesterday, when they bowled Sri Lanka out for 221 in their second innings.
Muralitharan appears to be Sri Lanka’s hope.
Sri Lanka opened the bowling with Chaminda Vaas and Ruchira Perera.
Sadogoppan Ramesh started with a clip to leg and was strong off his pads thereafter, hitting two boundaries, whilst Rahul Dravid started with two authoritative boundaries off Vaas; a square drive off the back foot and a clinical stright drive that nearly beheaded the non-striker.
After just two overs Chaminda Vaas shifted to the Hanthana End giving way to Muttiah Muralitharan from the Hunnasgiri End.
Dravid, acutely aware that Muralitharan is the danger man, took to score wherever possible off the off spinner. Three times Muralitharan dropped a fraction short and all three deliveries were forced off the back foot for fours.
Dravid, though, has enjoyed some good fortune. When on 29 he edged a catch just short of Jayawardene at first slip, he could have been run out on 32, and survived a confident leg-before shout when he failed to spot Muralitharan’s straighter ball.
The pair brought up the 50 run partnership in 57 balls and 79 minutes and took the Indian total pass 100 run mark in 34.2 overs and 152 minutes.
Sanath Jayasuriya finally called back Dilhara Fernando into the bowling attack in place of Chaminda Vaas who has not swung the ball as much as he did with the new ball yesterday afternoon.
Fernando broke through as Ramesh tried to wafted at a short delivery that surprised the left hander with some extra bounce and was well-caught by Jayasuriya at first slip.
Ramesh made 31 in 157 minutes and 105 deliveries with four fours. Dravid and Ramesh had added 61 runs for the second wicket.
Dravid is 42 not out and India are 103 for two.
At the middle are deputy skipper Rahul Dravid on 11 and Tamil Nadu opener Sadagoppan Ramesh on 15.
After the drinks break, the spin of Muralitharan was introduced in the 15th over of the Indian second innings.
Shiv Sunder Das who struggled against the Sri Lankan fast bowlers, immediately started off pulling Muralitharan. But it didn’t take much time for the Sri Lankan bowler to send him back to the pavilion.
The right-hander played forward defensively but Muralitharan’s sharp turn deceived him and he was clean bowled for 19 in 83 minutes and 61 balls with two boundaries.
Instead of a night-watchman, number three batsman Rahul Dravid came in to face the music with India on 42 for one. In only the second ball he faced, bowled by Muralitharan, he confidently drove Murali on the onside for a boundar.
India’s 50 runs came in 20.1 overs and 93 minutes with Ramesh on 13 and Dravid on eight.
With the light fading away instead of attacking with a fast bowler, skipper Jayasuriya brought himself on from the Hanthana End.
Although India didn’t lose any wickets both the openers were tested by some quality fast bowling by the Sri Lankans.
Chaminda Vaas was unlucky to have not got the wicket of Das early on. Vaas had a loud leg-before shout against him turned down by umpire TH Wijewardene before the batsman had opened his account.
Once again he went through the defense of the batsman and clipped the bails by bringing a delivery into the batsman as he shouldered arms, but that was unfortunately off a no-ball.
Das looked suspicious against all the Sri Lankan fast bowlers as all three of them beat him with pace and movement.
Left handed Ramesh on the other end played watchfully.
Tea was taken early due to rain and 28 minutes of play was lost because of the shower.
When play resumed Muralitharan went about smashing the hapless Indian bowlers.
Murali went past his previous best of 39 also against India and went onto reach his 50 when he cut Sourav Ganguly for a single with all the Indian fielders on the fence to cut down the boundary. This is was his first 50 in 64 Test Matches.
The right-hander scored most of his runs on the leg side and when the Indian captain stationed his fielders on the boundary, he kept pushing for twos quite successfully to keep his partner away from strike.
Ruchira Perera gave him good support with some sharp running between the wickets while also blocking the limited deliveries he received in his long stay of 76 minutes in the middle. He ended unbeaten on six.
Desperate to break the last wicket partnership, Sourav Ganguly brought about various bowling changes without success. His negative tactics of stationing all his fielders on the boundary line didn't help India very much.
Slowly Murali and Perera, who came together with the side struggling on 158 for nine, took Sri Lanka past the 200-run mark in 52.3 overs and 308 minutes.
Soon they extended their partnership to 50 runs in 72 minutes and 82 balls.
That was further extended to 63 runs with some more hefty blows. The biggest of them was a huge six by Murali over long off, off his opposite number Harbhajan Singh.
But two balls later he went for a similar shot, but mistimed the ball and was caught by Sadagoppan Ramesh.
The partnership was a new record against India beating the previous best of 44 between Rumesh Ratnayake and Asoka de Silva.
They would have been in even worse trouble had it not been for an explosive cameo by Muttiah Muralitharan, who smashed 26 runs in 16 balls, including two sixes and two fours.
Sourav Ganguly was so frustrated by Muralitharan's eccentric display that he placed eight fielders on the boundary in an effort to keep him off the strike.
Nevertheless, have fought themselves back into a match they have looked destined to lose since the first day. Sri Lanka still have a healthy lead of 214, but India are one good batting performance away from levelling the series.
Ganguly opted to open the bowling after lunch with himself and Prasad from the Hunasasgiri End.
With Sri Lanka on 124 for five Suresh Perera flashed at a delivery from Ganguly and edged to Hemang Badani at the second slip, who dropped a regulation catch.
Badani, though, made amends when he clung on to a brilliant left handed catch off Perera (4)in Prasad's fourth over after lunch. The catch ended an important 21 run partnership that had lasted for 50 mins. Sri Lanka 137 for six.
Perera's dismissal precipitated a spectacular collapse. The last four Sri Lankan wickets fell for just 20 runs as Prasad bowled gun barrel straight.
Hashan Tillakaratne never looked comfortable with his footwork and had had a number of narrow escapes as he shuffled across his crease. He was finally trapped lbw for 16 off 64 balls by Prasad.
Prasad's fourth victim was Chaminda Vaas who was also trapped lbw by an inswinger. He had scored just four and Sri Lanka were 153 for seven.
Dilhara Fernando slogged one boundary to mid-wicket, but lasted only five balls as he tried heave and was clean bowled.
It was Prasad's seventh five-wicket haul in his 32nd Test.
Khan, who now has seven wickets in the match, used the overcast conditions well in two five-over bursts this morning (5-1-15-1 and 5-1-16-2). This is the first time Khan has taken four Test wickets in an innings, beating his previous best of three for 62, which he recorded in the first innings.
Extracting movement through the air and off the wicket he dismissed Kumar Sangakkara with his third ball of the day before returning to grab the wickets of Mahela Jayawardene and Russel Arnold in his second spell.
Venkatesh Prasad chipped in at the the other end with the wicket of opener Marvan Atapattu, who had been holding the innings together with 45 from 88 balls.
Sri Lanka's hopes now lie with experienced left-hander Hashan Tillakaratne, currently on 14 from 36 balls, and all-rounder Suresh Perera, on four, who has a point to prove after a low-key performance with both bat and ball in this game so far.
Sri Lanka's 166-run lead, however, already remains a healthy one at this venue. England struggled to chase 160 in March this year and Sri Lanka lost to South Africa by seven runs last year, when they were chasing 176.
Having dismissed Sangakkara with the ball of the day Khan was recalled for his second spell after a two over burst from Sourav Ganguly.
He had the impressive looking first innings centurion Jayawardne caught at second slip by Hemang Badani for 25 and then trapped Russel Arnold lbw with a delivery that cut back into the left hander. Sri Lanka were 116 for five.
Since the fall of the fifth wicket, Tillakaratne and Perera have survived several excited appeals from the Indian fielders, including a reflex run out attempt by short leg fieldsman Mohammad Kaif, which necessitated the use of the third umpire.
First innings centurion Mahela Jayawardene is on 19 and has just been joined at the crease by Hashan Tillakaratne who has scored four runs so far.
Zaheer Khan, India’s best bowler in this Test, struck with his third delivery to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara, when the left hander edged a low catch to Sameer Dighe behind the stumps.
The wicketkeeper batsman, who joined deputy skipper Marvan Atapattu last evening after the early loss of captain Sanath Jayasuriya, had added 32 runs for the second wicket last evening. He had scored 13 in 62 balls. Sri Lanka were 52 for three.
Khan nearly dismissed Jayawardene too. Caught in two minds Jayawardene tried to leave the ball at the last moment and edged just short of Hemang Bandani at second slip.
Marvan Atapattu, meanwhile, continued to play well this morning, but was eventually dismissed by Venkatesh Prasad thanks to a brilliant one-handed diving catch by wicket keeper Dighe in front of first slip.
Atapattu had scored 45 runs from 88 balls and hit seven boundaries. His dismissal ended a useful 32 run partnership with Jayawardene.
Ganguly replaced Khan from the Hantana End and was very close to having Jayawardene leg-before wicket when the right-hander padded up to an inswinger.
Tillakaratne has also been living dangerously; twice surviving confident lbw appeals.
Soon after the evening drinks break, Sri Lanka bowled out India for 232 still 42 runs short of their first innings score.
Last man Harvinder Singh had no clue against the spin of Muralitharan and was clean bowled attempting a big hit. He made six in 20 minutes and 17 balls with one four.
Chaminda Vaas bowled exceptionally well and ended up with four wickets for 65 runs while Muralitharan, Ruchira Perera and Dilhara Fernando shared two wickets each.
The Sri Lankan bowlers were guilty of bowling 23 no balls. Vaas was responsible for 13 of them while Fernando’s account was nine.
Sri Lanka in their second innings lost their skipper Sanath Jayasuriya early. The batsman had just made six runs in five balls and 19 minutes when he was bowled by Zaheer Khan off the inside edge.
The left-hander going for his favourite cut shot, dragged one onto his stumps with Sri Lanka on 20.
Soon Sri Lanka would have lost number three Kumar Sangakkara as well.
The wicketkeeper batsman pulled Zaheer Khan, but didn’t quite time the ball and both wicketkeeper Sameer Dighe and Harvinder Singh at fine leg sprintrf for the ball, which was in the air for quite some while. But in the end it safely fell between them.
If Dighe had not come in Singh's way, he could have probably got a hand to the ball as he was charging at the ball unlike Dighe who was chasing it.
Marvan Atapattu was his usual self and batted with control. Kumar Sangakkara too followed suit and cut down his attacking strokes after that mistimed pull early in the innings.
The pair took Sri Lanka’s total pass 50 in 16.1 overs and 74 minutes.
Sri Lanka remain in the box seat having bowled out the tourists for 232, which gives them a 42-run lead, but when India slipped to 123 for five earlier today they would have feared much worse.
Singh may not have contributed with the ball, but he made amends with the bat. In the very first over after tea he thrashed Dilhara Fernando for three boundaries – a top edged hook, a resounding pull in front of square and a flat footed cover drive.
Singh and Dighe then attacked Muralitharan, hitting him for nine runs in his first over after tea. Dighe pull-swept over deep square and Singh swept the off spinner to the fine leg boundary.
Runs were now flowing. Dighe hit Fernando for two more boundaries, to end the fast bowler's short spell (2-0-24-0). Muralitharan, replaced by Vaas after his expensive first over, came in place of Fernando, but proved no more economical, as Harbhajan impudently lofted him over the top.
India’s 200 runs came in 52.1 overs and 310 minutes with Dighe on 23 and Singh on 29. The pair also brought up their 50-run partnership for the seventh wicket in just 36 minutes and 52 balls.
Vaas put an end to the threatening partnership when he trapped Dighe leg before wicket for 28 from 79 balls with five boundaries. The batsman shuffled across and was plumb in front when the ball struck him. India were 218 for seven.
Zaheer Khan was Muralitharan’s first victim of the game, well caught by Tillakaratne at silly point off pad and glove for a duck. India were 223 for eight.
In the next over Vaas clean bowled Singh, who tried to flog the left arm fast bowler to the mid wicket boundary. He had scored 44 from just 32 balls.
Harvinder Singh had time to hit one cracking pull shot before he was deceived by Muralitharan’s arm ball to end the innings.
In the first hour of the afternoon session, the visitors lost the wickets of Mohammed Kaif and Sadagoppan Ramesh. Hemang Badani and Dighe then added 31 runs in 65 minutes, before Bandani was dismissed.
Dighe has been worked over by the Sri Lankan fast bowlers who have preyed upon his apparent weakness against the short ball. Chaminda Vaas cracked him on his helmet and he could so easily have been caught off the back of his bat as he ducked a short ball from Dilhara Fernando.
Though Dighe struggled for runs, he hit one sparkling pull-sweep off Murali to the midwicket boundary, as the off-spinner bowled a seven over spell from the Hantana End.
India’s 150 came in 42.3 overs and 207 minutes with Dighe and Badani in the middle.
Chaminda Vaas (7-2-16-0) was then replaced by left-arm fast bowler Ruchira Perera from the Hunnasgiri End, who picked up his second wicket of the day with his eighth ball of his second spell.
Badani tried to pull a short delivery in front of square, but the ball grew big on him and he top edged to give Fernando a simple catch at mid on. Badani had scored 16 from 62 balls. India were 154 for six.
India’s 100 runs came just after the lunch break in 117 minutes and 23 overs.
Muralitharan shifted to the Hunnasgiri End after lunch break replacing Suresh Perera, who just bowled one over after the break and two in his spell (2-0-9-0).
While Ramesh and Kaif played Murali watchfully, they tried to remain positive. In Murali’s second over Kaif danced down out of his crease to drive the bowler to the extra cover boundary.
After the early loss of three early wickets Ramesh and Kaif brought up the 50 run partnership for the fourth wicket in 52 minutes and 77 deliveries.
Soon after, however, Kaif was dismissed after being surprised by a rising delivery for Dilhara Fernando. He tried to fend off the ball, but the ball took the top edge of his bat and was well caught by a diving Marvan Atapattu in the gully. Television replays showed that Kaif had been caught off a no ball. Kaif had made 17 from 44 balls. Sri Lanka were 120 for four.
Fernando struck again. Ramesh, top scorer so far with 47 off 95 ball, was squared up by a delivery angled across his body and he was caught behind by Sangakkara off the face of his bat.
Muralitharan has now replaced Dilhara Fernando (6-1-13-2) and Chaminda Vaas has returned from the Hunasgiri End.
Ramesh, curbing his naturally exuberant instincts, has batted patiently, but has also hit four boundaries, including two classical straight drives off the fast bowlers and an efficient clip off his pads in the last over before the luncheon interval. He has enjoyed some good fortune too, regularly playing and missing in against the new ball bowlers and when he edged just wide off Mahela Jayawardene in the gully.
Crucially, India have lost star batsmen Rahul Dravid and captain Sourav Ganguly this morning. Dravid was contentiously adjudged leg-before wicket for 15 and Ganguly was well caught by Hashan Tillakaratne at backward point for 18 to leave India on 68 for three.
Ganguly thus continues a desperate run of form in which he has failed to pass fifty in his past 13 innings. He looked to be positive – driving Vaas through the covers and Ruchira Perera off the back foot behind square – but his eventual dismissal was a poor shot, as he lurched forward off balance and skewed the ball square on the off side.
Mohammad Kaif has come to the crease and he too has looked to play positively. He has made 10 runs so far off 18 balls and has hit one boundary so far.
Mutiah Muralitharan bowled a short three over burst before lunch. He spun the ball appreciably more than Harbhajan Singh yesterday and will be trying to exploit the rough created by Ganguly yesterday, when the India captain was warned twice for running down the wicket.
Suresh Perera, who was reported by umpire Steve Bucknor to the International Cricket Counci (ICC) for a suspect bowling action, bowled one over from the Hunnasgiri End, where Bucknor was standing, without incident.
In the morning Harvinder Singh needed just three balls to finish off the Sri Lankan innings, with a delivery that cut back through the gate to uproot Chaminda Vaas’s off stump. Vaas had scored 42 from 64 balls.
In the bowling department for India, Zaheer Khan was the pick of the bowlers and ended up with three wickets while Harvinder Singh, Venkatesh Prasad and Sourav Ganguly got two wickets apiece. Interestingly, star off spinner Harbhajan Singh was used for just seven overs in the entire Sri Lankan first innings.
Chaminda Vaas then sent back Shiv Sunder Das for eight when he trapped the right hander leg-before wicket with a full length inswinger that pitched online and hit the back foot. India were 11 for one.
Rahul Dravid was promoted to number three position. The elegant right-hander batted with absolute composure and his first scoring shot was a wristy boundary flicked off his pads when Vaas erred on to his pads.
Dravid, however, became Vaas’s second victim when he played back and was wrapped on the top roll of his front pad. The ball could well have gone over the stumps but umpire Tyron Wiijewardene, standing in his first Test match, ruled the batsman out.
Dravid had scored 15 in 19 balls. India were 38 for two, needing a captains innings from Ganguly.
Jayawardene reached his 100 immediately after the evening drinks break when he swung Harbhajan Singh to the mid-wicket boundary. The hundred came in 144 balls and 228 minutes with seven hits to the rope. It was Jayawardene’s sixth Test hundred.
Despite the regular fall of Lankan wickets at the other end, the right-hander remained positive, playing shots all over the ground. Most of his runs came courtesy the pull and the cover drive. He was involved in two useful partnerships with the Sri Lankan lower middle- order.
However, he was out soon after his hundred, caught behind by Sameer Dighe while going for a drive off the bowling of Venkatesh Prasad when he was on 104.
Jayawardene and Chaminda Vaas had put on a 43 runs for the seventh wicket for which Vaas’ contribution was a mere 10.
But after the dismissal of Jayawardene, Vaas hit few hefty blows.
With the Sri Lankan tail exposed, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly decided to bring in Harvinder Singh. Vaas responded by hammering two consecutive boundaries in Singh's first over of the spell. The first was a straight drive while the second was a pull.
In the fourth ball of his next over he was hit for another four, square of the wicket and this time by Muttiah Muralitharan. But his next ball was a perfect yorker for which Muralitharan had no answer and he was gone for five, amde in 16 minutes and 10 balls with a four.
Sri Lanka’s 250 was recorded amidst fading light in 73.2 overs with Chaminda Vaas on 23 and Dilhara Fernando yet to score.
Still, Vaas remained positive and took advantage of some wayward Indian bowling.
Vaas along with Dilhara put up another useful 29-run partnership for the ninth wicket before Fernando edged to Sameer Dighe behind the stumps to be out for four with Sri Lanka on 274.
Skipper Sourav Ganguly decided to bring himself on soon after tea from the Hunnasgiri End replacing Harbhajan Singh who bowled just three overs.
Although 11 runs were scored off Ganguly's second over after tea, the Indian captain made amends for that in the third over after the break when he broke a threatening 6th wicket partnership between Jayawardene and Suresh Perera.
Perera played a defensive stroke on the front foot to straight delivery but missed the ball and umpire Steve Bucknor as usual took his time before ruling the batsman out leg before wicket.
Although Perera made just 18 in 59 minutes and 31 balls with three fours, he was involved in a crucial 51 run partnership in 59 minutes with Jayawardene with the side in trouble.
Sri Lanka were 189 for six when Perera was dismissed.
Jayawardene who looked solid right from the start batted with authority even after the loss of Perera.
The batsman pulled with elegance and played some superb cover drives with exquisite timing, bisecting the fielders. His shot of the day probably was the lofted straight drive against Ganguly which fell just short of the boundary rope.
Mahela Jayawardene is still in the middle, looking confident and well set on 61. All-rounder Suresh Perera has made nine runs and has been content so far to play a supporting role.
After the afternoon drinks break Venkatesh Prasad took over the bowling from Zaheer Khan, who had bowled an impressive second spell, dismissing both Russel Arnold and Marvan Atapattu (7-3-9-2).
Left-handed Hashan Tillakaratne, who has forced his way back to the national side after a lapse of two years, failed to make an impression and was caught behind for ten. He never quite settled in and could well have been given out leg-before wicket before he had scored.
He would have been very disappointed with his eventual dismissal, as he flashed at a wide delivery, nicking it to Sameer Dighe behind the stumps. Sri Lanka 138 for five.
With Sri Lanka struggling, Mahela Jayawardene rose to the occasion.
The right-hander played some elegant pulls, exquisite drives and controlled flicks, taking the attack to the Indian bowlers. He reached his fifty in style as he pulled a short delivery from the Indian captain to the midwicket boundary. His eleventh Test half-century came in 72 balls and 111 minutes with 10 fours.
Sri Lanka went past 150 in 213 minutes.
The spin of Harbhajan Singh was introduced only in the 47th over from Hunnasgiri End.
Jayawardene played him watchfully. Perera was more adventurous; lofting him over midwicket for his first four.
Jayawardene though looks confident, driving and pulling the bowlers with authority, but he too has his moments of fortune, with the ball now moving off the pitch and through the air. Number six batsmen Tillakaratne has just joined Jayawardene at the crease and is yet to settle.
Play was delayed after lunch for 18 minutes after a sharp shower during the interval. The weather remains unsettled and the chances of further interruptions appear high.
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly continued to bowl from the Hunnasgiri End after the luncheon interval and retained Zaheer Khan from the Hantana End.
Both Ganguly and Khan had loud leg before and caught behind appeals turned down by the umpires. Tillakaratne was particularly lucky to survive an lbw shout from Ganguly before he had scored his first run.
Sri Lanka’s 100 runs came in 31 overs and 143 minutes with Russel Arnold on five and Mahela Jayawardene on 17.
Zaheer Khan, who persisted bowling a tight off stump line, was rewarded when he dismissed Russel Arnold. The left-hander poked at an away swinging delivery and Rahul Dravid at the first slip accepted the catch gleefully.
The left-hander made just five in 38 minutes and 27 balls.
Sri Lanka had looked to be cruising in the face of some frivolous fast bowling. Marvan Atapattu and Kumar Sangakkara were batting serenely, capitalising well on bowling that was frequently too full and often wide. With five minutes remaining before lunch they were 74 for one after 20 overs (there had been a 12-minute interruption for rain).
Sourav Ganguly, however, made an inspired decision to bowl himself. His first over was bang on target and a maiden. In his second he struck. Sangakkara reached forward to drive a full-length delivery outside his off stump, but skewed a catch to Sadogoppan Ramesh in the gully. Sanagakkara had score 31 from 51 balls. Sri Lanka were 78 for one.
Ganguly then made his second inspired decision, as he recalled Zahher Khan in place of the economical Prasad, who had bowled an eight over burst (8-1-23-0). With his third delivery he caught Atapattu in two minds. He decided to leave the ball too late and ball cannoned off his inside edge onto the stumps. Sri Lanka were 82 for three and the delighted Indian players left the field for lunch.
This wicket has not misbehaved as much as expected and batsmen have been able to play through the line of the ball with confidence. The bounce has been true and there has been little lateral movement.
Sri Lanka, though, have been hit by the Kandy bogey again. They have wasted a position of strength and now must re-build the innings, as a rejuvenated Indian side enjoys it’s best spell of the series.
Sri Lanka scored 52 runs in the first hour of play under overcast conditions, losing just the wicket of their captain. At the wicket are vice-captain Marvan Atapattu on 28 and Kumar Sangakkara, fresh after his maiden hundred, looking solid on 18.
Zaheer Khan and Harvinder Singh, who was replacing the injured Javagal Srinath, opened the bowling for India.
Atapattu started proceedings with an elegant straight drive off the first ball, which resulted in an all run four, and then followed it with an exquisite extra cover drive for four off the third ball.
Disaster struck, however, when captain Sanath Jayasuriya was run out for just three in the 21st minute. The left-hander, who made a run-a-ball hundred in Galle, glided Zaheer Khan’s delivery to fine leg and looked for a two that was never there. Atapattu, though, had settled for one and did not budge from the crease as Jayasuriya rushed towards him. Sameer Dighe collected the throw from Harvinder Singh and threw to Venkatesh Prasad at the non-strikers end. Jayasuriya was yards short of the crease.
Sri Lanka then were 18 for one.
Since then, though, Sangakkara and Atapattu have raced along, punishing some wayward bowling from India. Too often the fast bowlers have over-pitched and strayed onto the batsmen’s pads. If the lush outfield had not been so slow, Sri Lanka would have scored many more than the 52 they have made in an entertaining first hour.
The host nation won the first Test Match of the three match series in Galle comprehensively and now have an excellent chance to win their first Test series for 16-months.
Sri Lanka are playing an unchanged side, despite fast bowler Suresh Perera being reported to the ICC for a suspect bowling action by umpire Steve Bucknor in the first Test of the series. Bucknor is officiating in this match as well.
India, meanwhile, have brought in right arm medium fast bowler Harvinder Singh in place of the injured Javagal Srinath. This is Singh’s third Test Match and first in three years.
The wicket has a distinctly greenish hue that promises the fast bowlers plenty of encouragement in the first session. This could prove to be a very important toss to win. Nevertheless, if Sri Lanka bat well, India will have to bat last, which could to be difficult.
Asgiriya International Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for Sri Lanka. So far 11 Test Matches have been played at this venue with Sri Lanka winning just two matches and losing six. They have lost their last two Test matches here after winning in Galle.
Last time Sri Lanka won here was two years ago, when the host nation recorded their inaugural win against Australia, beating the world champions by six wickets.
Umpire Tyrone Wijewardene of Sri Lanka is making his Test debut today.
Date-stamped : 26 Aug2001 - 14:34