Tendulkar, Raina help India take lead (Roundup)

July 29th, 2010 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Colombo, July 29 (IANS) Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar smashed his fifth double hundred and Suresh Raina scored a century on debut as India took a slim 27-run first innings lead at the end of fourth day’s play in the second cricket Test here Thursday.
Tendulkar made 203 and Raina 120 as India were 669 for nine in the first innings, in reply to Sri Lanka’s 642 for four declared, when the stumps were drawn at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground. Ishant Sharma was batting on 10 and Pragyan Ojha was yet to open his account at close.

Resuming at the overnight score of 382 for four, India started cautiously as they needed 61 more runs to avoid the follow on.

The first four came from Tendulkar’s bat as he pushed debutant off spinner Suraj Randiv through the cover boundary and then Raina smacked the lanky bowler for a huge six over long off.

Tendulkar and Raina put on 256 runs for the fifth wicket as India avoided the ignominy of a second successive follow-on.

The 23-year-old Raina hit two sixes and 12 fours in his 228-ball knock and got to his century with a fluent off-drive off seamer Dammika Prasad that went for a four. Mendis picked up Raina with Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara taking a good catch at short-midwicket shortly after lunch.

The 37-year-old Tendulkar endured hot and humid weather for his marathon innings that was studded with 23 boundaries and a six. Tendulkar reached his 200, in his 168th Test, with a flick off Ajantha Mendis for two runs. It was Tendulkar’s first double hundred in six years.

Tendulkar also equalled West Indian Brian Lara’s record of 19 scores of 150-plus. Australian legend Don Bradman did it on 18 occasions.

Prasad rattled Tendulkar with a short-pitched delivery that hit the batting maestro’s helmet and raced to the boundary. Part-time spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan got rid of Tendulkar soon after tea as wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene took a bat-pad catch by moving quickly to the silly point area. Dilshan also dismissed Harbhajan Singh in the same over.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (76) then joined in the run feast and added 95 runs for the sixth wicket with Tendulkar and 51 for the eighth with Abhimanyu Mithun (41). Dilshan took a good return catch off his own bowling to remove Dhoni.

Mendis finished the day with four wickets conceding 157 runs from his 54 overs, while Dilshan picked up three wickets for 50 runs.

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