by Brian Thomas
Media Manager – Sri Lanka Cricket
First Session (Day 1) 2nd Test India Vs Sri Lanka at Green Park in Kanpur
India wins toss and the session
Sri Lanka decided to play 3 spinners at Kanpur, and kept faith in Angelo Mathews to Share the new ball with Chanaka welegedara for the injured Dhamika Prasad. The spin trio in pursuit for the Lankans are Muralitheran, Mendis and Herath. The Indians on the other hand replaced Pragyan Ojah the left arm spinner, for Amit Mishra, while Kerala lad Sreesanth replaced the out of form Ishant Sharma. MS Dhoni the Indian skipper won the toss for the second consecutive time in the ongoing series and elected to take first lease of this pitch which the experts predict will start powdering by day 3, to aid the spinners. Indian openers Gautam Gambir and Virendra Schewag looked tentative against the seamers in the early overs. Shewag was dropped in the slips cordon before he opened his account by Mahela Jayawardena, off the bowling of Chanaka Welegedara. Gambir meanwhile settled in playing with a straight bat, and milking the Sri Lankan bowling. On hind sight I reckon Schewag, after being dropped at slips in the second over decided to play the Sri Lankan bowling with more respect.
Shewag and Gambir rated as the best openers in world cricket played some breathtaking strokes to all parts of the park to some mediocre bowling by the three spinners. India took lunch on day one on 131 for no loss with Shewag on 70 and Gambir on 59. You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that unless otherwise Sangakara gets His bowlers into a rhythm, use pace from one end, spin from the other, the Lankan’s will not enjoy the day. For Ajantha Mendis his bowling figures at lunch was not good reading, put away for 42 runs in 5 overs.
Second session on Day 1 dominated by the Indians.
Indian opener’s shewag and Gambir, came out with all guns blazing after the lunch break. India maintained a healthy run rate and scored at a brisk rate. None of the Sri Lankan Bowlers including the world’s best spinner Muttia Muralitheran were spared by the Indian duo on a placid, slow wicket, at Green Park in Kanpur. Shewag reached a well deserved century, his 16th in test cricket and his 2nd against Sri Lanka. Shewag and Gambir also surpassed the opening partnership record of 214 by Navjot Singh Siddu and Manoj Prabhakar at the SSC back in 1993.
Much to the delight of the Sri Lankan’s Shewag lost concentration when on 131 mistimed a cover drive , off a Muralitharan top spinner only to be caught by Thilekaratne Dilshan at short extra cover with India’s total on 233.Virendra Shewag’s 131 is his 18th test century, the second against Sri Lanka. The right hander faced only 122 balls, executed 18 fours and 2 sixes. Gautam Gambir also reached a land mark today by scoring his 7th test century, his 3rd in 3 consecutive tests in India, and this effort being a back to back against Sri Lanka.
India seems well set at tea on 307 for 1 wicket with Gambir on 140 and Dravid on 28. India now have, a window of an opportunity, to bat Sri Lanka out of this game, by batting only once on a pitch which will not be batsman friendly come day 3.
Third and final session on day 1
India bat Sri Lanka out of the Test on day 1
The dominance of India continued, with the Sri Lankan bowlers either bowling too full in length or too short, on a slow pitch, coupled with the fielding falling apart to the Indian onslaught. The hosts, who lost their first wicket on 233, went onto make 370 for the 2nd wicket, with Dravid and Gambir making their batting count on a pitch that did not respond to Sri Lanka’s triple spin. Gautham Gambir, un beaten on 140 at tea, looked set for more than a double hundred. The left hander batting with great composure on 167, gave Muralitheran his second wicket when he reached to play a pitched up off spinner, only to give the bowler a diving catch, to help the visitors a breath of fresh air. Gautham Gambir batted for 311munities, executed 15 fours. Sri Lankan bowlers were in disarray when the left hander played some majestic strokes in his long stay at the wickets. India end the day on a high with 417 for 2, Dravid looking for another century batting on 85 with Tendulkhar on 20. Sri Lanka will come back with fresh legs and ideas tomorrow, but they have a huge task ahead of them to contain India’s strong batting line up, who are enjoying the placid pitch with two master craftsman out in the center.
India at Stumps 417 for 2 Wickets
Gautham Gambir 167
Virendra Schewag 131
Rahul Dravid 85 Not out
Muttia Muralitheran 2 for 100