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India's tour match ends in a draw
Harish Kotian in Liecester | August 05, 2007 19:04 IST
Last Updated: August 06, 2007 00:19 IST
Gautam Gambhir [Images] and Wasim Jaffer scored battling half-centuries as India's tour match against Sri Lanka [Images] 'A' ended in a draw on the third and final day at the Leicestershire County Club ground in Grace Road on Sunday.
Gambhir finished unbeaten on 53 as India scored 187 for 6 in 55 overs after being set 294 for victory in 57 overs.
Opener Jaffer was the top scorer for India with a fighting knock of 55, hitting six boundaries and a six in his 84-ball knock. Yuvraj Singh [Images] delighted with a blazing 33 which included seven boundaries, but failed to carry on, to score a big knock as did some of the other batsmen.
However, for the second time in the match both Dinesh Karthik and Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] failed as they made 9 and 1 respectively.
Sri Lanka 'A' scored 266 all out and 265 for 7 declared in their two innings, while India declared their first innings at 238 for 5.
India now take on England [Images] in the third and final Test at the Oval, starting on August 9. They lead the series 1-0 having won the second match at Trent Bridge, while the first Test at Lord's finished in a draw.
Earlier, left-hander Vandort led the way with a sparkling knock of 117, comprising of 18 boundaries as Sri Lanka 'A' declared their second innings on 265 for 7 in 64 overs.
Sri Lanka's extended batting session, which extended a couple of overs after the lunch break, meant that India have literally no chance of taking on the run chase.
In their first innings, Sri Lanka had scored 266, while India declared their first innings at 238 for 5.
India struck early on the third and final day when they got the wicket of Dilruwan Perera run out for 49 in the third over of the day.
Perera had played some delightful shots on the second day, hitting 10 boundaries, but today he could add only 1 run to his overnight total before he lost his wicket.
Malinda Warnapura fell off the very first delivery he faced, when he was caught behind by Dinesh Karthik off Ranadeb Bose as Sri Lanka slipped to 115 for 3.
However, Vandort continued his good form as he started to take on the bowlers. He was particularly severe on Anil Kumble, who was yet to make an impression in this match.
In the 47th over, interestingly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was fielding in the outfield replaced Karthik as the wicketkeeper.
Vandort, who resumed on 61, played solidly in the morning session and brought up his century in the 50th over of the innings. He guided a ball down the fine leg fence as Kumble drifted on his pads to bring up a well deserved century off 169 deliveries.
Kumble's struggle was obvious as he failed to find a good line and length, conceding 48 runs in nine overs. He was promptly replaced by Ramesh Powar in the 54th over with Yuvraj Singh bowling his slow left-arm spinners from the other end.
Powar struck in his very first over of the day, his ninth of the innings, when he got the key wicket of Vandort.
The left-hander looked to take on the off-spinner but holed straight to Bose at long-off. Vandort scored a fine innings of 117, hitting 18 boundaries in his 186-ball knock to follow up on the 52 he made in the first innings. Vandort added 81 runs for the fourth wicket with captain Thilan Samaraweera to boost the Lankans.
It was turning out to be a good match for Powar as he took a wicket in his next over as well. Samaraweera tried to drive against the spin but offered a simple catch back to the bowler to be dismissed for 24.
The next over VVS Laxman was given the ball, and even he got among the wickets when he struck in his first over with the wicket of Kaushal Lokuarachchi for 16. And interestingly, Kumble was the one who took the catch at short mid wicket off Laxman's part time spin, a combination you mostly see in reverse.
India then called on Gautam Gambhir to bowl, but he got some punishment from Dammika Prasad, who carted him for a six and two fours as Sri Lanka reached 236 for 6 after 60 overs.
He then repeated the dose on Laxman as he smashed him for a huge six over mid wicket to move to 21.
But in the next over he fell to Gambhir as he tried to hit another big shot, and ended up being caught by Karthik at long-on for 21 as lunch was taken.
Sri Lanka didn't opt for a sporting declaration at lunch but instead batted for a few overs after lunch, giving India no chance whatsoever of taking on the run chase.
Sri Lanka 'A' finally declared their second innings at 265 for 7 in 64 overs, leaving India to score 294 in 57 overs.
For India, Powar emerged as the most successful bowler, taking 2 for 37 in 12 overs to finish with match figures of 6 wickets for 122. Bose also impressed, claiming six wickets in the match, including the 5 for 51 in the first innings.
But the biggest worry for India was the form of Kumble, who went wicketless in the 20 overs he sent down in the match.
It will be a good test for the batsmen, especially for Karthik, Dhoni and Laxman, who would be looking to make up for the first innings failure with a good batting effort.
India lost an early wicket in the second innings too when opener Dinesh Karthik fell cheaply for the second time in the match.
Karthik made 9 with the help of two boundaries before he was bowled by Chanaka Welegedara in the second over of the innings. The run chase was out of the question anyways but this early wicket was a slight irritation, especially considering Karthik failed twice in the match.
Yuvraj, promoted to number three, got off to a flier as he struck six boundaries to race to 26 off just 19 deliveries as India reached 42 for 1 after 9 overs. At the other end, Jaffer was quite content to play the anchor role as he made 7 from 26 deliveries.
Yuvraj's stay at the wicket was however cut short at 33 when he fell leg before wicket to Perera in the 16th over. He smashed seven boundaries all around the park in his 40-ball knock, but lost his wicket just when he looked set for a big knock.
For Dhoni it could not have gone worse. He made just 1 before he was trapped right in front of the wickets by Dammika Prasad. The Indian wicketkeeper, who has come under fire for his wicketkeeping skills, had made a duck in his first essay.
Jaffer continued to hold steady from the other end, hitting quite a few sweetly timed boundaries.
At the tea break, India reached 92 for 3 in 23 overs, needing 202 runs in a possible 34 overs.
Jaffer completed his half-century in fine style when he hit a classical boundary through the covers in the 27th over. He reached his fifty from 72 deliveries, hitting six boundaries and a six.
He, however, did not last long after that as he fell caught and bowled to Herath for 55.
Herath then bagged his second wicket when he dismissed Laxman for 3, for the second time in the match. Laxman was trapped leg before wicket as India slipped to 126 for 5.
It seemed India were in a bit of bother having lost half their side and around 34 overs to contend with. But out came the dependable figure of Rahul Dravid [Images], who had scored a half-century in the first innings.
Dravid also flattered to deceive when he was dismissed for 15. The Indian captain was trapped leg before wicket by Prasad as India reduced to 152 for 6 in the 43rd over. With 15 overs left to be bowled it remained to be seen whether Gambhir in the company of the tailenders could take India to a draw.
Ramesh Powar stuck well at the crease, giving Gambhir good support. While Powar did not hold back and pounced on the loose deliveries and he made sure he was careful with his shot selection and defended well too.
Gambhir batted with a great degree of caution after the fall of the middle order. He completed his half-century in the 53rd over of the innings. His scoring rate had taken a sharp dip in the recent overs as he reached his fifty off 93 deliveries with eight boundaries.
He finished unbeaten on 53 as India reached 187 for 6 in 55 overs before the two teams agreed for a draw. Powar gave him good support, scoring 14 not out.
But overall it was not a convincing batting display from the Indian batsmen and the worrying fact was that the players expected to play a part in the next Test were disappointing.