Thatscricket - News - India face heavy defeat in first Test against Sri Lanka

Published: Monday, August 6, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Galle: Muthiah Muralitharan caused India's batting slump for the second time in one match to leave Sri Lanka on the brink of an innings victory in the first cricket Test on Thursday.The versatile off spinner grabbed four for 32 as the tourists, trailing by 175 runs on the first innings, ended the third day's play tottering at 130 for eight in its second knock.Rahul Dravid was the only batsman to offer resistance, batting out the day for an unbeaten 35. Venkatesh Prasad kept him company at stumps on five.With India on 120 for seven after the stipulated 90 overs had been bowled and Javagal Srinath unlikely to bat because of a swollen left hand, Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya claimed the extra 30 minutes to force a win on the third day itself.Jayasuriya himself removed Zaheer Khan with the first ball of extra-time, but bad light stopped play after 20 minutes. The hosts will return on the fourth day to complete the formalities and take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series even as the Indians pray the forecast of heavy rain over the next two days comes true."It does not matter whether we win in three days or four, the important thing is to win and take a lead in the series," Jayasuriya said. "It's all gone very well for us so far and I am confident we will be through early on Friday."Young batsman Kumar Sangakkara set up Sri Lanka's impressive display with a maiden Test century that allowed the hosts to recover from a lower order collapse and post a commanding lead.The left-hander remained unbeaten on 105 as the Sri Lankans, replying to India's 187, scored 362 before they were all out midway through the post-lunch session.Sangakkara, who earlier this year was dismissed for 98 against South Africa and 95 against England, finally broke the jinx in his 10th Test. He was on 93 when last man Muralitharan walked in to bat, but showed no signs of nerves as he lofted Srinath twice to the mid-off boundary to bring up his century.The Indians, without their star duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Venkat Sai Laxman, appeared to learn nothing from Sangakkaras patience.They lost left-hander Sadagopan Ramesh before tea, bowled by left-arm seamer Ruchira Perera when he misjudged the line of an incoming delivery. Prolific opener Shiv Das, who made 23, followed soon after tea when he slashed at a rising ball from Ruchira Perera and gave an easy catch to the fielder at point.Mohammad Kaif, playing only his second Test, found the experience of Muralitharan too hot to handle and was snapped up at forward short-leg after making 14.Skipper Saurav Ganguly, short of runs and confidence, lasted just 11 deliveries before he was bowled by fast bowler Dilhara Fernando off the inside edge.Muralitharan claimed his second wicket soon after, winning a favourable decision for a catch at the wicket against Hemang Badani even though the ball appeared to go off the pads rather than the bat.Muralitharan, almost unplayable on the deteriorating wicket, then had Sameer Dighe snapped at silly point and he took a return catch to dismiss Harbhajan Singh.The timid batting negated the good work done by the Indian bowlers in the first session. Srinath claimed five wickets and Zaheer chipped in with three to restrict Sri Lanka after it started the day at a commanding 264 for three.Srinath finished with five for 114 to claim his eighth five-wicket haul in 53 Tests. Sri Lanka lost its last seven wickets for 88 runs after Jayasuriya's century on Wednesday had given it a sound start.

Copyright AFP 2001

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