Sangakkara, Pranavitana grind Indian bowlers (Lead)

July 26th, 2010 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Kumar Sangakkara Colombo, July 26 (IANS) Centuries from Kumar Sangakkara and Tharanga Pranavitana took Sri Lanka to 312 for two in the first innings as India’s tag of No.1 Test team now looks in danger after the end of the first day’s play in the second Test match here Monday.
Captain Sangakkara was batting on 130, his 23rd Test ton, while opener Pranavitana (100) kept up his fine performance and scored his second consecutive century. The duo with their 174-run stand grounded the listless Indian bowling attack.

The Sri Lankan captain is now only the second player to have scored nine Test centuries at one ground - matching Don Bradman’s feat at his beloved Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Mahela Jayawardene was also batting on 13 while opener Tillekaratne Dilshan gave Sri Lanka a quick start with his brisk 54 at the Sinhalese Sports Club.

Indian pacers Ishant Sharma and Abhimanyu Mithun hardly troubled the Sri Lankan openers, who added 99 runs for the first wicket.

The wicket offered some turn to the spinners but it never threatened Sangakkara or Pranavitana. The duo made the most of the good start given by Dilshan, whose brisk half-century took Sri Lanka to 128 for one by lunch.

Dilshan played some attacking shots on both sides of the wicket as Sangakkara’s decision to bat first paid off. Dilshan’s 42-ball innings was studded with 10 fours.

Dilshan came down hard on Ishant as early as in the fourth over, by hitting the lanky fast bowler for four boundaries. Dilshan then smacked Mithun, playing his second Test match, for three fours in the 14th over forcing India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to introduce spin from both ends.

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha provided India the much needed breakthrough when Dilshan smacked him hard but V.V.S. Laxman took a good catch at short extra cover.

Paranavitana completed his fifty by punching part-time off-spinner Virender Sehwag to the covers. Sangakkara got to his 33rd half century in 82 balls and in style by hitting Ishant through the midwicket boundary.

Sri Lanka reached 235 for one at the tea break and in the last session, both the players continued in the same breadth.

Both the batsmen got their century in the 71st over. Paranavitana clipped Sehwag for three before Sangakkara danced down the pitch and brought up his 23rd Test century with a boundary over mid-on.

Ishant ended the partnership in the next over when Paranavitana chopped his unthreatening delivery onto his stumps. Pranavitana hit 10 fours and a six in his 221-ball innings.

Both the teams made a few changes in their side. Sri Lanka have inducted Ajantha Mendis, Suraj Randiv, Dammika Prasad and Dilhara Fernando in the squad. India have brought in Murali Vijay for Gautam Gambhir, who has a knee injury, while Suresh Raina comes in for Yuvraj Singh, who is down with fever.

Sri Lanka lead the three-match series 1-0.

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