India facing possible defeat in Colombo Test

August 6th, 2010 - 7:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Sachin Tendulkar Colombo, Aug.6 (ANI): Sri Lankan off-spinner Suraj Randiv struck thrice during the closing stages of the fourth day’s play of the third and final Test to peg India back, and leaving it facing possible defeat on the fifth and final day at the P. Sarvanamuttu stadium here.

Chasing Sri Lanka’s 257, India were precariously placed at 53 for 3, with Sachin Tendulkar and Ishant Sharma at the crease on scores of 11 and 2 respectively. They need a further 204 to achieve victory on a difficult track that is taking both turn and uneven bounce.

India has lost the wickets of Virender Sehwag (0), Murali Vijay (27) and Rahul Dravid (7). Sehwag was caught at first slip, Vijay at backward short leg and while Dravid was bowled.

Earlier, Sri Lankan middle-order batsman Thilan Samaraweera followed up his unbeaten century in the first innings with a resolute 83 in the second to keep India’s bowlers at bay for much of the day. Spinner Ajantha Mendis, who scored a telling 78, and added 118 runs for the ninth wicket, thus taking the game away from India, helped him.

At one stage, Sri Lanka had lost seven wickets for 87 runs, giving the Indians hope of victory.

However, Samaraweera altered the script and played the ball late and with skillful use of the wrists. There were timely improvisations, as he swept, slog-swept, charged out of the crease to find the boundary, forcing the Indian fielders to spread out.

Samaraweera built the Sri Lankan total with the help of first Lasith Malinga and then Mendis.

Friday’s knock must rank as one of his finest, far tougher than he faced in several of his 12 grinding centuries.

His vigil ended when he was caught behind of Karnataka fast bowler A. Mithun.

For the Indians, spinners Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra and Virender Sehwag took three wickets each, while Mithu took one. Ishant Sharma went wicketless. (ANI)

India’s hopes now rest with Tendulkar and the middle-order comprising V.V.S.Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. (ANI)

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