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Published: Thursday, July 26, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Kandy: Mahela Jayawardene hit 104 to steer Sri Lanka out of trouble after India wrecked the top order on the opening day of the second cricket Test here on Wednesday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]The Indians, down 1-0 in the three-Test series, had Sri Lanka tottering at 138-5 after electing to bowl in overcast conditions on the Asgiriya Stadium wicket that sported a greenish tinge but the tourists were frustrated by Jayawardene's sixth Test century and his second in successive matches at Kandy as Sri Lanka drew stumps on a happier 274-9.The lower order assisted Jayawardene in the rescue act, Suresh Perera adding 51 for the sixth wicket and Chaminda Vaas 43 for the seventh. Jaywardene, who made 101 against England on the same ground earlier this year, smashed 17 boundaries during his four-hour vigil before he was caught behind off Venkatesh Prasad.At close, Vaas was unbeaten on a defiant 42, while last man Ruchira Perera had yet to score. Embattled Indian captain Saurav Ganguly, fighting to retain the captaincy after a slump in batting form, claimed two wickets with his medium-pace bowling and left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan took three for 62. Ganguly's day was, however, marred when he was twice warned by West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor for running in the danger area on his follow through."I may have overstepped a bit, but on the whole it was a satisfactory outing for us," Ganguly said. "Having decided to bowl first, we needed to keep Sri Lanka down to a reasonable score."I think we achieved that although at 138-5, I was hoping to see them get out quicker. But Jayawardene played very well."The Indians sent down just 78 of the stipulated 90 overs on the rain-curtailed day before stumps were drawn early due to bad light.India grabbed three wickets for 23 runs on either side of lunch after Sri Lanka made a confident start to reach 78 for one.Marvan Atapattu and Kumar Sangakkara, who came together after skipper Sanath Jayasuriya was run out for three, put on 60 for the second wicket. Jayasuriya, who hit 111 in the first Test at Galle, which Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets, was stranded out of his crease while attempting a second run.Atapattu and Sangakkara used the low bounce of the wicket to strike freely, when India hit back just before lunch. Left-handed Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's other centurion at Galle, looked in ominous form with 31 when he fell to a low catch in the gully by Sadagopan Ramesh. Sangakkara cut a short ball from Ganguly, but Ramesh dived to his left to give India a badly-needed break.Off the last ball of the morning session, Atapattu played on to Zaheer to leave Sri Lanka on 82-3 and the Indians in a happier frame of mind. Zaheer struck again soon after resumption when he forced Russel Arnold to edge a catch to Rahul Dravid at first slip.Veteran Hashan Tillekeratne, recalled for the series in place of Aravinda De Silva, looked clearly out of touch as he struggled for an hour to make 10. Frustrated at his inability to score, the left-hander slashed at Prasad and offered an easy catch to wicket-keeper Sameer Dighe.Suresh Perera, retained in the side despite being reported by umpire Bucknor for a suspect bowling action at Galle, partnered Jayawardene for an hour to score 18.India, without five top stars including master batsman Sachin Tendulkar, replaced the injured Javagal Srinath with seamer Harvinder Singh. Sri Lanka fielded an unchanged team.AFP

Copyright AFP 2001

Jayawardene helps Lanka take honours
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