India crash to worst defeat againt Sri Lanka

July 26th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

By Rex Clementine
Colombo, July 26 (IANS) India crashed to their worst defeat against Sri Lanka hen they lost the first cricket Test by a whopping innings and 239 runs inside four days here at the Singhalese Sports Club ground. Forced to follow on, the Indian batsmen collapsed to the guile of Muttiah Muralitharan and debutant Ajantha Mendis and were shot out for a humiliating 138. A result ín the Test looked unlikely after the first two sessions were washed out by rain, but Sri Lanka piled up a mammoth 600 for six declared and then bowled the Indians out twice.

It was complete domination by the Sri Lankan spinners as Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis took 19 of the 20 wickets to fall.

Sri Lanka narrowly missed recording their biggest victory margin in Test cricket, but nevertheless it’s their third best Test win and the best against a prominent Test playing nation.

India’s 138 in the second innings is their lowest total against the Sri Lankans in Test cricket.

Mendis returned the best figures for a Sri Lankan on debut, eight for 132.

Resuming at 159 for six, India lost three quick wickets and were 188 for nine, but V.V.S. Laxman and last man Ishant Sharma added 35 runs batting for over an hour. That helped the stylish Laxman to score his 35th Test fifty and the only one for the Indians in the game. Laxman was last man out for 56.

Needing 377 runs to avoid innings defeat, India lost the dangerous Virender Sehwag early after the Sri Lankans sought the assistance of the referral system. Despite the third eye, Sehwag was unfortunate to be given out as replays clearly showed that the ball had brushed the front pad, which was outside the line of leg stump, before deviating to hit the back pad.

The Sri Lankans called for the Television Referral Umpires’ assistance on four more instances after the umpire had ruled the decision in batsmen’s favour and got three of them spot on.

Like in the first innings, India’s middle order collapsed again as they lost five wickets in the afternoon session and four more in the final session.

Three wickets fell with the score on 103 as Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Dinesh Karthik all fell in quick succession.

The series has been billed as a battle between world’s best batsman and best bowler and Muralitharan came on top in both the innings, dismissing Sachin Tendulkar. The former Indian captain, who started the series requiring 172 runs to overtake Brian Lara as the world’s highest run-getter in Tests, managed just 27 and 12.

Muralitharan, who picked up 11 wickets in the game, was named Man of the Match.

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