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India rout Sri Lanka in second Test to level series
August 03, 2008 13:35 IST
Last Updated: August 03, 2008 17:37 IST
India made amends for the Colombo debacle by trouncing Sri Lanka [Images] by 170 runs within four days to level the three-match Test series 1-1 in Galle on Sunday.
After setting Sri Lanka a target of 307, Harbhajan Singh [Images] (4 for 51) and Ishant Sharma (3 for 20) bundled out the home team for a paltry 136 on a dramatic fourth day's play which saw as many as 16 wickets fall.
It was a remarkable comeback by the Indians who were beaten comprehensively by an innings and 239 runs in the first Test in Colombo.
The teams now return to Colombo for the series decider beginning on August 8.
For Sri Lanka, Thilan Samaraweera (67 not out) stood tall amid the ruins but apart from Tillakaratne Dilshan [Images] (38), none of the Sri Lankan batsmen could offer any resistance.
India could add only 69 runs to their overnight score of 200 for four before they collapsed, their last five wickets falling for just 14 runs in the second essay.
For the hosts, Ajantha Mendis [Images] finished with four wickets in the second innings to complete his first match haul of 10 wickets in just his second Test match.
After setting the hosts a stiff target of 307, India's pace duo of Ishant and Zaheer Khan [Images] mowed down the Lankan top order as the pitch in the Galle International Stadium suddenly sprang to life.
In fact, by the time Sri Lanka's score reached double digit in the fourth over, the hosts lost the wickets of in-form Malinda Warnapura (0), dependable Kumar Sangakkara (5) and batting mainstay and captain Mahela Jayawardene [Images] (5).
Both Ishant and Zaheer struck the perfect line and length to make life difficult for the Lankans. Ishant induced an edge from Warnapura with his third delivery and in the next over, Zaheer scalped Sangakkara with a leg-cutter as VVS Laxman took his second catch in the slips.
Jayawardene's stay too was cut short as he cut an Ishant delivery straight to Rahul Dravid [Images] at point and Sri Lanka found themselves in a hole as they went into lunch at 24 for three.
On resumption, Harbhajan trapped Michael Vandort (10) but Thilan Samaraweera () and Tillakaratne Dilshan (38) then decided to bail Sri Lanka out of the rut.
Despite the pressure, the duo were in positive frame of mind as they remained cautious but did not err in punishing loose deliveries -- all along ensuring that there was no further damage in this session.
The Indians grew desperate for a breakthrough and Ishant bowled a fiery spell but initially without luck. The lanky Delhi [Images] pacer finally had his man when he sent down a steep rising delivery that kissed Dilshan's blade before nestling into Dinesh Karthik's [Images] gloves. At that stage, Sri Lanka found themselves at 113 with the top half of the batting order cooling their heels in the pavilion.
Samaraweera and Prasanna Jayawardene (4) thwarted the Indian attack even though runs were not easy to come by with the pacers, especially Ishant, bending their back.
Jayawardene was ruled leg before by umpire Billy Doctrove [Images] but the decision was reviewed and eventually upturned, much to bowler Harbhajan's dismay. The offie, however, had the last laugh as Jayawardene finally top-edged one to Sourav Ganguly [Images] who took a well-judged catch in the deep.
Harbhajan dealt another blow by trapping Chaminda Vaas [Images] for a duck and removed Ajantha Mendis (2) as well while captain Anil Kumble [Images] returned Nuwan Kulasekara and Muttiah Muralitharan [Images] to drop curtains on the Sri Lankan innings.
Earlier, India did manage to set the hosts a victory target of 307 runs but being all out for 269 meant the match was not yet beyond Sri Lanka's reach.
Overnight batsmen Sourav Ganguly (16) and Laxman (13) began well but before they could really get their eyes in, Ajantha Mendis struck, trapping the stylish Hyderabadi with a trademark carrom ball to peg India back.
Dinesh Karthik (20) made his intention clear as he went about the task of scoring with a positive outlook. Hitting Muralitharan and Mendis over the ropes gave him some confidence but his knock was nipped just when it was about to bloom. In fact, India were in for a double jolt in the 70th over of the innings when Murali first foxed Karthik who went for a six only to hole out in the deep and five balls later, Ganguly stepped out only to miss the line and see Prasanna Jayawardene doing a smart job behind the stump.
The Indian tail did not wag for long with Mendis removing Kumble (2) and Harbhajan (11) to register his first match haul of 10 wickets.
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