India restrict Sri Lanka to 24 for three in second innings

August 3rd, 2008 - 3:11 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Rex Clementine
Galle, (Sri Lanka), Aug 3 (IANS) India made inroads to squaring their three-match Test series against Sri Lanka when they claimed the hosts’ three top order wickets to leave them struggling at 24 for three at lunch on the fourth day of the second Test Match at the Galle International Cricket Stadium here Sunday. At the crease were Michael Van Dort on four and Thilan Samaraweera on ten.

The first session of the fourth day saw nine wickets fall. India resumed from their overnight score of 200 for four and slumped to 269 all out.

Having set the Sri Lankans a target of 307 in more than five sessions, India staked claims to levelling the series by picking up three early wickets of Malinda Warnapura, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in a row with just ten runs on the board.

The tourists lost the first Test in Colombo by a massive innings and 239 runs.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka’s two spinners ran through the Indian batting with the visitors losing their last five wickets for a mere 17 runs. Ajantha Mendis finished with four for 94, his first ten-wicket match bag in Tests, and Muttiah Muralitharan with three for 107.

India could have picked up a fourth wicket had Rahul Dravid caught Van Dort in the second ball of the Sri Lankan’s innings.

Although India’s spinner Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble were expected to cause the Sri Lankans trouble, it was the seamers who inflicted severe blows, claiming wickets in the second, third and fourth overs.

Ishant picked up Warnapura in his first over when the batsman stabbed a delivery and got a thick edge to get comfortably caught by Laxman at the second slip.

Zaheer picked up Sangakkara in the next over, but the biggest blow for the Sri Lankans came in the next over when captain Jayawardene, the top scorer of the first innings, while trying to cut hard at a delivery failed to keep the ball down and was snapped up by Dravid.

India had made 329 runs in their first innings thanks to an unbeaten double hundred by Virender Sehwag and restricted Sri Lanka to 292 gaining a slender 37-run lead.

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