Laxman’s century seals series-levelling win for India (Lead)

August 7th, 2010 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Colombo, Aug 7 (IANS) V.V.S. Laxman overcame a back spasm to smash his 16th Test century as India defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final Test to level the three-match series 1-1 at the P. Sara Oval here Saturday.
Man-of-the-Match Laxman remained unbeaten on 103, after adding valuable 109 runs for the fifth wicket with Sachin Tendulkar (54) as India chased down the victory target of 257 scoring 258 for five in their second innings. Suresh Raina remained unbeaten at 46.

Sri Lanka, winning the toss and batting, had made 425 in the first innings and 267 in their second. India were bowled out for 436 in their first innings.

Resuming at the overnight score of 53 for three, India lost nightwatchman Ishant Sharma (4) early in the day to off-spinner Suraj Randiv, who bagged all five wickets in the Indian second innings for 82 runs and ended up with a match-haul of nine for 162.

India were struggling at 62 for four but Laxman and Tendulkar played sensibly to defy the Sri Lankan spinners who were extracting some sharp turn and bounce from the pitch.

Tendulkar, playing his record 169th Test, took three hours to complete his half-century. He made the most of the life he got batting at 18 when Tillakaratne Dilshan dropped a simple catch at forward short-leg off Randiv.

Tendulkar’s cautious half-century came with just three fours. He eventually fell to Randiv in the fifth over after lunch, when he gloved a sweep shot and wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene took a smart catch.

With 86 runs still needed to win, Laxman joined forces with Raina to take India home with their unbeaten sixth-wicket stand of 87 runs.

When on 60, Laxman developed back spasms and Virender Sehwag had to step in as runner. Laxman’s excellent strokeplay dented the confidence of the Sri Lankan spinners. Laxman’s century was studded with 12 boundaries.

Raina, playing his second Test, struck four fours and a six. His six off seamer Chanaka Welegedara over mid-on sealed the match for India.

Sri Lanka had won the first Test at Galle by 10 wickets, while the second at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club ended in a draw.

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