Sri Lanka 85 for two on rain-hit day one (Lead)

July 23rd, 2008 - 8:37 pm ICT by IANS  

By Rex Clementine
Colombo, July 23 (IANS) Indian pacers struck early to reduce Sri Lanka to 85 for two at stumps in rain-curtailed day one of the first Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club grounds here Wednesday. Only 22 overs were possible on the opening day as the combination of rain, wet outfield and bad light deprived the teams of a full day’s action in what was expected to be a closely fought Test series.

Just less than two hours of play was possible after the tea interval and play was called off early at 5:15 pm local time due to bad light with Malinda Warnapura (50) and skipper Mahela Jayawerdene (16).

Ishant Sharma (1 for 21) removed Michael Vandort (3) while Zaheer Khan took the wicket of dangerous Kumar Sangakkara (12).

Opener Warnapura made a strong start to the series making a half-century. The left-hander, playing only his fifth Test Match, looked solid and faced 74 balls, hitting six boundaries with three of them coming in an Ishant over.

After the first two sessions were lost, play resumed eventually at 3:30 pm local time and Ishant got good assistance from the gloomy conditions moving the ball significantly.

He claimed the wicket of Vandort, with a sharp rising delivery and the left-hander chased the ball that he could have left alone and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik took a good catch moving to his left.

Vandort could have saved his wicket had he committed himself to running a third run two balls earlier. Having pulled Ishant to midwicket, Vandort was too slow and declined to take the third run and that resulted in his dismissal.

Warnapura then added 50 runs for the second wicket with Sangakkara before Zaheer struck. The left-arm seamer bowled nine overs on the trot and got the prize scalp with a delivery that pitched on middle stump and moved away to off and Sangakkara got a thick edge and Rahul Dravid at first slip got his palm under the ball to take a sharp catch.

Warnapura was solid right from the start. He got off the blocks by driving Zaheer sweetly pass mid-off for four and then hit three successive fours off Sharma.

Zaheer did trouble him with a few short deliveries while Sharma beat him once, but other than that it was a polished effort by the 29-year-old trying to make the opener’s slot a permanent one.

Play will resume 30 minutes early Thursday.

Posted in South Asia |