Injuries hit India as Lanka take first innings lead (Roundup)

August 9th, 2008 - 9:55 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Rex Clementine
Colombo, Aug. 9 (IANS) Injuries weighed down the Indian camp, forcing three players out of action as Sri Lanka rode on an unbeaten ton by vice captain Kumar Sangakkara to take a first innings lead on the second day of the third and final cricket Test here Saturday. Sangakkara remained unconquered on 107 as the hosts reached 251 for six to take a two run lead over the visitors as bad light forced an early end of play with six overs yet to be bowled at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium. India were all out for 249 in their opening essay.

V.V.S. Laxman sprained his left ankle while warming up ahead of the day’s play, batting genius Sachin Tendulkar hurt his left elbow attempting a catch while Ishant Sharma pulled his hamstring. And as none of the players could return to field, India were forced to rethink their strategies.

Sharma’s departure in particular was a severe blow for the visitors as they were not able to take the new ball when it became due.

Sangakkara’s gritty knock consolidated the Sri Lankan innings as he struck his 17th Test hundred and the second against India.

The left-hander showed lot of patience as the wicket slowed down, making strokeplay difficult.

Sangakkara was dropped on 34 by Rahul Dravid off Anil Kumble, but from there on, he showed a lot of character.

Sangakkara got to 99 by cutting Harbhajan for a four and reached three figures with a cheeky single by pushing one to covers.

He batted for close to five hours, facing 212 balls and hit 12 boundaries during his knock. He and night watchman Chaminda Vaas (47) added 95 runs for the third wicket.

The Indians also let off Vaas when he was on 47. Tendulkar floored the chance at backward short leg, with Kumble again being the unlucky bowler. Tendulkar, in the process, hurt his left elbow and walked off the field.

The reprieve, however, did not affect the Indians much, as Vaas soon departed - hitting straight to Virender Sehwag at point off Harbhajan Singh. He batted for 169 minutes, facing 111 balls and picked up nine fours to post his highest score against India.

Harbhajan also got rid of captain Mahela Jayawardene in his next over when trying to sweep, he missed the line and was ruled out.

Thilan Samaraweera and Sangakkara then added 61 for the fifth wicket before being caught by Parthiv Patel off Zaheer Khan. After his departure, Tillekeratne Dilshan and Sangakkara added 43 runs for the sixth wicket before Kumble picked up his first wicket by accounting for Dilshan with a quicker ball.

India were looking to take the new ball, but had to hold it back as Sharma broke down with a bruised muscle.

India’s physiotherapist Nitin Patel said Laxman had gone for a precautionary scan and he was monitoring the situation. He said Sharma’s availability would only be known Sunday morning, whereas Sachin Tendulkar and Parthiv Patel, who got a cut on the face while keeping to Kumble, were recovering.

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