by Brian Thomas
Media Manager – Sri Lanka Cricket
Sri Lanka did well to bowl India out for 426 runs based on the fact that the hosts were sitting pretty with a formidable total of 385 for 6 overnight. Sunil Gavaskar was of the view that India would look at 600 runs with inform batsman Rahul Dravid batting on 177.
Dravid could not add to his overnight score when he played onto a Welegedara in swinger dragging the ball into his stumps with the Indian total on 389. Zahir Khan and overnight batsman Harbajan Singh played with ease, however introduction of Rangana Herath did the trick for Sangakara. Herath turned a delivery into Khan’s pads who made the cardinal error of playing on the back foot to a pitched up delivery and was adjudicated LBW with India on 414.
Harbajan, batting on 22 was guilty, trying an audacious reverse sweep to a Muralitharan off spinner only to hear the sound of timber with India losing her 9th wicket with the Total on 426.Ishan Sharma did not disturb the scorer, he was deceived by a Muralitharan top spinner with wicket keeper Prasana Jayawardena doing his glove work to perfection by stumping Ishan.
India somewhat disappointed bowled out for 426. The wickets were shared 6 of them to seamers Welegedara and Dhamika Prasad the former taking 4 for 87 while the latter 2 for 106. Sri Lanka’s spin department accounted for 4 scalps with Muralitharan 3 for 97 and Rangana Herath 1 for 79.
Sri Lankan openers TM Dilshan and Paranavithana , after a dodgy start settled into play good cricket on a placid pitch. Dilshan was his usual self, played with an air of freedom, he stroked the red cherry to all parts of the park, with the Indian seamers guilty, bowling to both sides of the wicket. Paranavithana the left hander did all the hard work to get to 35, but was undone by a super delivery from Ishant Sharma that left him late, only to be brilliantly caught by wicket keeper Dhoni with the score on 79.
Skipper Sangakakra and Dilshan came up with a sterling performance for the 2nd wicket. Dilshan was a treat to watch, he went after the Indian bowling got them off their line and length, he used his feet and stroked a stroke filled 112 with 13 boundaries’ in 133 balls. The 2nd wicket partnership of 110, between Sangakara and Dilshan had the Indians looking for new idea’s. Zaheer Khan came up with a solution dismissing Dilshan With a bouncer which he tried to pull but only succeeded, top edging it to Dravid who ran from gully position to pick up the sitter at silly mid off with Sri Lanka’s total on 189.
Zaheer Khan stuck again when he forced Sri Lanka’s skipper Kumar Sangakara to pull a short pitch delivery only to be caught at deep mid wicket by Satchin Tendulkar for 31. From a strong position the Sri Lankan’s lost their 3rd wicket on 194. The double blow saw a spring in the step in the Indian camp. The Indian bowling improved while Harbajan got some grip and turn which kept the relatively new comers to the wicket both Mahela Jayawardena and Thilan Samaraweera prodding at delivery’s.
The Indian’s know very well that both Mahela and Thilan when settled are players capable of scoring big hundreds. Dhoni used his seam and spin attack, he also introduced Yuvraj singh into the attack to break the partnership but to no avail. The two right hander’s stuck like glue in an un broken stay of 81 runs between them, with Samaraweera batting on 45 with Jayawardena on 36.
Sri Lanka end the day on 275 for 3 wickets, they trail by 151 runs with 7 wickets in hand. All in all, Day 2 belonged to Sri Lanka.