Batting collapse leave Indians in tatters

August 8th, 2008 - 5:27 pm ICT by IANS  

By Rex Clementine
Colombo, Aug 8 (IANS) India were in dire straits in the series deciding Test against Sri Lanka as they were reduced to 190 for six at tea on the first day at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo Friday. After debutant Dammika Prasad (3-75) had done the early damage with a three wicket haul, the spinners — Muttiah Muralitharan (1-34) and Ajantha Mendis (2-33) — teased the Indian batsmen to claim three more wickets in the afternoon session to wrestle the initiative to the Sri Lankans on what was thought to be a good batting wicket.

India had earlier recorded their 50 in 42 balls in an effortless manner with Virender Sehwag (21) and Gautam Gambhir (72).

The hosts, however, struck a decisive blow when Prasad claimed the wicket of Sehwag, who had hit an unbeaten double hundred in the second Test. Prasad was in the side for his extra pace and he got Sehwag with a delivery that pitched and straightened and was caught comfortably by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene.

He changed ends and charged in, dismissing Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in quick succession before lunch.

The Indians were at the receiving end of the new referral system as all three decisions that were referred during the day went in favour of the Sri Lankans. Both Dravid and Gambhir were given not out by the on-field umpire but after the Sri Lankans opted for the referrals, it came in their favour as both batsmen were ruled leg before wicket.

Tendulkar, meanwhile, also opted for the referral after he was given out leg before wicket when he was beaten by Prasad, but it came unstuck.

After the excellent work by the seam bowlers, Mendis had Gambhir leg before wicket and in the last over before tea he also nailed V.V.S. Laxman with a beauty. The batsman playing forward was beaten by the delivery that cut away from him and Prasanna Jayawardene whipped off the bails in no time, the fifth time that Laxman got out to Mendis in the series.

Muralitharan was not introduced to the attack until after lunch and when he came in, he chipped in with the wicket of Sourav Ganguly, who was caught at first slip.

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