India gain slender 37-run lead against Sri Lanka

August 2nd, 2008 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Rex Clementine
Galle (Sri Lanka), Aug 2 (IANS) India knocked off the remaining five Sri Lankan wickets before lunch to gain a slender 37-run lead in the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka and leave the game evenly poised at the Galle International Cricket Stadium here Saturday. Resuming at the overnight score of 215 for five, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 292 as the lower order collapsed, with Harbhajan Singh returning figures of six for 102. The five Sri Lankan wickets to fall Saturday were shared by the two spinners as Harbhajan claimed two and Anil Kumble finished with three.

Sri Lanka had progressed nicely to 291 for seven with captain Mahela Jayawardene extending the eighth wicket partnership to 36 runs with Nuwan Kulasekara, but his dismissal triggered a lower order collapse as the hosts lost three wickets for just one run.

Jayawardene had progressed to 86 and looked set for his second hundred in the series. He had played the spinners well and had taken the burden of facing the two experienced Indian spinners. But he eventually fell for Kumble’s leg break and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik held onto the nick on the rebound.

Kulasekara had played a good supporting role making an unbeaten five in 83 minutes and 43 balls.

Sri Lanka lost their last three wickets in the space of seven deliveries as Mendis was plumb in front for Kumble’s slider two balls after Jayawardene’s dismissal and in the next over, Harbhajan picked up last man Muttiah Muralitharan when he heaved one to deep mid-wicket, where Ganguly took the catch.

Earlier, the Sri Lankan captain added 58 runs for the sixth wicket with overnight batsman Prasanna Jayawardene. After the morning drinks break, Harbhajan picked up the first wicket of the day, caught bat pad at backward short leg. He made 24 and was Harbhajan’s fifth victim, the off-spinner claiming his 22nd five wicket haul.

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