Muralitharan two short of 800 Test wickets as India struggle (Lead)

July 21st, 2010 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Galle (Sri Lanka), July 21 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan was just two short of a record 800 Test wickets as India were left struggling at 181 for five in their second innings, following-on, at the end of the fourth day’s play in the first cricket Test here Wednesday.
V.V.S. Laxman (9) was at the crease and Yuvraj Singh (5) was the last wicket to fall as bad light stopped play at the Galle International Stadium with India still trailing by 63 runs.

Muralitharan picked up five for 63, his 67th five-wicket haul, and Virender Sehwag (109) got his 20th Test century as India were bowled out for 276 in the first innings, shortly after lunch, as Sri Lanka enforced the follow-on. Sri Lanka declared their first innings at 520 for eight.

The Indian second innings also started on a disastrous note as opener Gautam Gambhir departed in the third ball after being trapped leg-before by pacer Lasith Malinga. Mahela Jaywardene took a brilliant catch off Chanaka Welegedara to remove a dangerous looking Sehwag (31) as India took tea at 68 for two.

Rahul Dravid (44) and Sachin Tendulkar (84) led the repair act with their 119-run stand for the third wicket. Dravid played patiently for his 152-ball stay but Malinga struck to break the partnership.

Dravid was caught at leg gully attempting to flick Malinga. In his very next over, Malinga struck again with his yorker to trap Tendulkar leg before wicket just short of his 48th Test century.

Muralitharan then picked up Yuvraj with the last ball of the day to pick up his 798th Test wicket and is now just two short of becoming the first bowler to get 800 Test wickets.

Earlier in the day, resuming at the overnight score of 140 for three in their first innings, India scored 120 runs for the loss of five wickets in the morning session and were bowled out shortly after the lunch break.

Indian batsmen paid the price for poor shot selection. A set Sehwag (109) was the first to depart after scoring his 20th Test century. It was an aggressive innings from Sehwag, who smashed 19 fours and a six in his 118 ball knock. Sehwag was dismissed in his trademark style while chasing a wide delivery off seamer Chanaka Welegedara and was caught by Tharanga Paranavitana at slip.

Laxman (22) also departed soon as he fell top-edging a half-hearted pull shot off Lasith Malinga and was caught at deep by Tillekratne Dilshan as India slumped from 169 for three to 178 for five.

Yuvraj (52) and India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33) then tried a repair act with their 74-run stand but Muralitharan, playing his last Test, picked up both the batsmen with brilliant deliveries.

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