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Lankans sniffing

Samaraweera, Mendis in grand record 9th wicket stand :

In what could turn out into being a match winning recovery where the last three wickets added a fantastic 180 runs, Sri Lanka set India 257 runs for victory and hit back to capture three wickets for and sniffing victory on the final day at the P. Sara today.

Suraj Randiv

At the close India were 53 for 3 still needing 204 for a victory that will help them square the series and the Lankans having to capture seven wickets to give them victory and the series that at one stage looked a distant dream when they were 87 for 7. India lost the vital wickets of Sehwag for zero, Dravid for 7 and Vijay 27 to spinner Randiv using the new ball and at the wickets are Tendulkar on 11 Sharma on

Randiv has 3 for 20. The two teams must take the field today keeping in mind that a game is not won or lost till the final ball is bowled.

To recap

To recap when the game began on the fourth day, Sri Lanka were 45 for two- 34 runs ahead with eight wickets remaining. Sri Lanka had made 425 in the first innings and India had replied with 436. And I said in my match description at the end of the third day, the stage was set for a nail biter.

The overnight not out batsmen were skipper Kumar Sangakkara on 12 and Suraj Randiv yet to score and a lot depended especially on Sangakkara to steer the batting ship to calmer waters and make it difficult for the Indians.

The Indians who were one down in the series, were not going to go down without a fight. And fight they did cleverly marshaled by skipper Dhoni who set attacking fields to his spinners left armer Prayan Ojha and leg spinner Amrit Misra.


Dhoni crowded the batsmen with a six on the leg and three on the off with four close to the bat fielders breathing down the neck of the batsmen. The pressure excerted was overpowering and the early batsmen succumbed.

This is how the batting collapse unfolded as first Ojha and then Misra spun a telling web to sting, paralyze and lead them to their destruction. Randiv went prodding forward to be LBW for 6.63 for 3. Mahela Jayawardena went snicking a sharply turning ball from Ojha to Dravid in the slips for 5. 77 for 4.

Irresponsible swipe

Sangakkara seemed lost with fielders crowding him and played an irresponsible swipe to be taken by Raina at square leg for 28. 78 for 5. Angelo Mathews seemed like a little boy lost as he swung Misra wildly to be taken at mid on by Tendulkar for 5. 87 for 6. Prasanna Jayawardena forgot that he had a bat in his hands, prodded forward and was LBW first ball of Misra for no score. 87 for 7.

Misra was on a hat-trick

The wicket held no terrors, it was simply irresponsible batting. At this stage it looked as though it was all over for the home team bar the shouting and with the Indians sniffing victory. Mendis lunged forward to prevent the hat-trick.

That was sad state of the Sri Lanka scoreboard when first innings century maker Thilan Samaraweera and Lasith Malinga joined forces to thwart the Indian spinners and bring about a recovery of sorts adding an invaluable 38 for the 8th wicket.

On its merits

Samarweera and Malinga succeeded because they approached the bowling with responsibility and played it on its merits. Malinga went when he played back to off spinner Sehwag missed and was LBW for 15. 125 for 8.

But the Indians did not reckon with Thilan Samaraweera.

Samaraweera who is fast becoming Sri Lanka’s man for a crisis, took it on himself and showed his team mates who threw it away earlier, how to negotiate good bowling with a straight bat by further repairing the crumbling batting well supported by Ajantha Mendis. In a stubborn stand that frustrated the Indians they got on top.

While Samaraweera was all confidence in obtaining his runs, Mendis was pushing it around and was an able support hitting the occasional boundary.

They took lunch at 143 for 8 with Samaraweea on 33 and Mendis on 10. After lunch they continued to frustrate the Indian pace and spin and although Dhoni swung his bowlers around, the break through wasn’t forthcoming and Samaraweera and Mendis showing the correct approach and right attitude and the bowling that looked threatening in the morning seemed ordinary as they added a further 57 runs to take tea on 225 for 8 and hoisting their 100 run stand which was great. Samaraweera was on 78 and Mendis 45.

With a wicket hard to get Dhoni took the new ball in desperation at 241 and met with success when Samarweera going for a pull got a touch and was taken by Dhoni off Mithun for a well made 83.

He had 6 fours in a 139 ball innings.

His stand with Mendis was worth 118 a record. 243 for 9. Mendis then began to swing wildly and added another 24 runs with Welagedera before snicking Misra to Raina. He made a breezy 78

with 10 fours and a 6 in 174 minutes and 157 balls. It was his maiden Test 50 and what an innings it was. Sri Lanka were all out for 267.

Of the Indian bowlers Ojha had 3 for 89, Sehwag 3 for 51 and Misra 3 for 47.


1st innings 
425 (K. Sangakkara 75, M. Jayawardene 56, T. Samaraweera 137 not out, P. Ojha 
4-115, I. Sharma 3-72).

1st innings
436 (V. Sehwag 109, V. Laxman 56, S. Raina 62, L. Maliga 
3-119, S. Randiv 4-80, 
A. Mendis 2-109).

2nd innings 
(overnight 45-2)

T. Paranavitana c Dhoni b Sehwag	16
T. Dilshan c Vijay b Sehwag		13
K. Sangakkara c Raina b Ojha		28
S. Randiv lbw b Ojha			 6
M. Jayawardene c Dravid b Ojha		 5
T. Samaraweera c Dhoni b Mithun		83
A. Mathews c Tendulkar b Mishra		 5
P. Jayawardene lbw b Mishra		 0
L. Malinga lbw b Sehwag			15
A. Mendis c Raina b Mishra		78
C. Welegedara not out			 4
Extras: (lb4, w4, nb6)			14
TOTAL (all out, 85.2 overs)		267
Fall of wickets: 1-32 (Paranavitana), 2-39 (Dilshan), 3-63 (Randiv), 4-77 (M. Jayawardene), 
5-78 (Sangakkara), 6-87 (Mathews), 7-87 (P. Jayawardene), 8-125 (Malinga), 9-243 (Samaraweera), 10-267 (Mendis).
Bowling: Mithun 8-1-22-1, Sharma 17-3-54-0 (w4, 4nb), Ojha 28-5-89-3, Sehwag 15-0-51-3, Mishra 17.2-1-47-3 (nb2).

2nd innings

M. Vijay c M. Jayawardene b Randiv	27
V. Sehwag c M. Jayawardene b Randiv	 0
R. Dravid b Randiv			 7
S. Tendulkar not out			11
I. Sharma not out			 2
Extras: (lb4, nb2)			 6
TOTAL (for three wickets, 18 overs)	53
Fall of wickets: 1-10 (Sehwag), 2-27 (Dravid), 3-49 (Vijay).
Bowling: Malinga 6-1-16-0 (nb1), Randiv 9-2-20-3, Mathews 2-0-5-0, Welegedara 1-0-8-0 (nb1).


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