Late wickets end India’s resistance

August 11th, 2008 - 3:34 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Rex Clementine
Colombo, Aug 11 (IANS) With the series at stake, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman tried to forge India’s comeback, adding 85 runs for the sixth wicket to give India a lead of 91 runs with three second innings wickets in hand at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium here Monday. The Indians were 238 for seven at lunch, with Laxman (50) and Harbhajan Singh (9) on crease.

After being reduced to 161 for five, with a slender lead of 14 runs, not much was expected from the Indian batting that crumbled once again to the Sri Lankan bowling.

But a half-fit Laxman and a resolute Dravid ensured the game didn’t get over before lunch on the penultimate day, making the Sri Lankan bowlers work hard for their wickets.

Teaming up with Laxman, who had sprained his left ankle while warming up two days ago, Dravid took India’s total pass 200.

The former Indian captain, who had struggled for form like all his senior colleagues in the series, showed a semblance of good form. Dravid had managed only 88 runs in the series.

Dravid eventually scored the first fifty in the series, albeit a little too late for the Indians.

He brought up his half-century in 142 minutes and 96 balls and benefited from some defensive field setting by the Sri Lankans.

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene operated for most of the morning without a silly point, particularly for Laxman, and they didn’t force the batsman to stretch his front foot, the injured one, forward to spinners.

Jayawardene placed himself at short fine leg despite the batsman unable to bend and sweep and his tactics to cut off the single worked in favour of the Indians.

One edge off Laxman flew pass the vacant slip area when he was on 33. He was also dropped on 39 by Thilan Samaraweera at short mid wicket off the bowling of Muralitharan.

But the Sri Lankans probably were circumspect, knowing what the duo could do when in form.

The two Indians had countered the Sri Lankan attack for one and half hours in the morning without being separated but they were only delaying the inevitable. The valiant stand ended when Dravid was lured forward by Mendis and beat the defensive prod and was taken cleanly by Jayawardena at first slip.

Muralitharan from the other end accounted for Anil Kumble when the batsman was ruled leg before wicket for nine.

Laxman reached his second fifty in the series with a single, but was dropped on the same score when Malinda Warnapura at short leg put down a chance off Mendis to deny the bowler a fourth wicket in the innings.

India made 249 runs in their first innings and Sri Lanka replied with 396.

Sri Lanka won the first Test by an innings and 239 runs while India bounced back to win the second Test by 170 runs.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in South Asia |