Sri Lanka gain crucial 147-run lead in Colombo Test

August 10th, 2008 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Colombo, Aug 10 (IANS) Sri Lanka gained a vital 147-run first innings lead over India on the third day of the third Test here at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium. India were 57 for one at tea and were still trailing by 90 runs. Replying to India’s first innings total of 249, Sri Lankans were all out for 396.

The host’s total was boosted by Kumar Sangakkara’s gritty 144, which was his 17th Test hundred and second against India . His dismissal did not arrest the run flow as the Sri Lankan tail made some contributions to get them close to 400 runs.

The Sri Lankan vice-captain, who had walked on to bat on the second day morning, batted for over seven hours en route his hundred. Known for his aggressive stroke play, Sangakkara was more circumspect this time around on a wicket that was gradually slowing down and his effort could be a possible match winning one with the series levelled at 1-1.

Sangakkara faced 288 balls and hit 14 boundaries during his knock. Resuming from the overnight score of 251 for six, he added 80 runs for the seventh wicket in a crucial stand with Prasanna Jayawardene before he nicked one to Parthiv Patel off Harbhajan Singh.

The Sri Lankans had wrestled hard to seize the initiative in the morning session and from 352 for seven at lunch lost only the wicket of Sangakkara.

First Prasanna added 43 for the eighth wicket with debutant Dammika Prasad, before being caught at deep square leg one short of his fifty and then Prasad and Ajantha Mendis were involved in a 29 run stand for the ninth wicket. Their resistance ended when Prasad was stumped by Patel off Harbhajan.

Sri Lanka took the initiative on a day when India’s miseries compounded. Fast bowler Ishant Sharma was not available throughout the day due to a right gluteus muscle contusion that he sustained while bowling on the second day.

India delayed taking the second new ball and took it only 24 overs after it was due. With only Zaheer Khan available as a genuine front line quick, runs started flowing as the tourists struggled in hot and humid conditions.

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