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Published: Sunday, August 5, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: Marvan Atapattu roared back into form with a fluent 108 and Mahela Jayawardene smashed an unbeaten 95 as Sri Lanka sent India on a leather chase in the third and decisive Test on Thursday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]The hosts, replying to India's modest first innings score of 234, prospered against a sting less attack to reach 323 for five by close on the second day's play at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground.Sri Lanka leads India by 89 runs with five wickets in hand in the Test that will break the 1-1 deadlock in the three-match series. Atapattu, who failed to pass 50 in eight previous innings, justified the faith placed in him by the selectors with his seventh Test century that contained 11 boundaries.The stylish opener added 71 for the second wicket with Kumar Sangakkara (47) and 133 for the third with Jayawardene on the easy-paced wicket.Jayawardene, who made 104 in the second Test at Kandy, was five runs away from a second consecutive century after hitting eight fours and a six.Sri Lanka lost two quick wickets of Russel Arnold and nightwatchman Dulip Liyanage before the close, leaving Hashan Tillekeratne unbeaten on zero.Arnold hit 31 in a 58-run stand for the fourth wicket with Jayawardene, while Liyanage was caught behind off Harbhajan Singh for three.The Sri Lankans comfortably negotiated off spinner Harbhajan, who failed to get the same bite from the wicket that fetched his rival Muralitharan eight wickets on the first day.Harbhajan, who became a folk hero after his 32-wicket haul against world champions Australia earlier this year, went for 93 runs from 30 overs for two wickets.Venkatesh Prasad was the most successful bowler with three for 54, but his new ball partner Zaheer Khan was hammered for 105 runs in 21 unsuccessful overs.Atapattu's innings was terminated an hour after tea by South African umpire, Dave Orchard, who ruled the batsman caught at forward short-leg off Harbhajan even though the ball went off the front pad.It was the third controversial decision by Orchard, the International Cricket Council-appointed umpire standing in his 29th Test. On Wednesday, Orchard had erred in giving Indian captain Saurav Ganguly out leg before for stepping out of his crease and padding away a ball from Muthiah Muralitharan, which was pitched outside the off stump and moving further away.Then in the morning session on Thursday, he ruled Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya not out when he played a ball from Harbhajan on to his boot and was caught at silly point.Jayasuriya, then on 25, failed to take advantage of the let-off as he was bowled off the inside edge by Prasad in the next over for 30. As Atapattu collared the attack, India rued a costly lapse in the field when substitute fielder Dinesh Mongia threw wide at the non-striker's end with the batsman stranded out of his crease.Atapattu was then on 31. Wicket-keeper Sameer Dighe failed to stump Sangakkara in leg spinner Sairaj Bahutule's first over before lunch and spilled an easy catch off Jayawardene off the same bowler.The hosts, who started the day at 13-0, went to lunch on 93 for one, losing the wicket of Jayasuriya in the morning session. Sangakkara brought up the 100 of the innings and the 50-stand with two consecutive boundaries off Zaheer Khan soon after resumption.The left-hander's luck, however, ran out when he edged Prasad to second slip where Hemang Badani moved to his right to hold a smart catch.

Copyright AFP 2001


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