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Published: Monday, August 20, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: Sri Lanka clinched a cricket Test series against India for the first time in 16 years when it won the third and decisive Test by an innings and 77 runs here on Sunday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]The Indians, trailing by 376 runs and still needing 159 to make Sri Lanka bat again, were dismissed for 299 in their second innings 50 minutes before lunch on the fifth day.The emphatic victory helped the hosts take the series 2-1 after they had won the first Test at Galle by 10 wickets before India bounced back to draw level in the second at Kandy, winning by seven wickets.It was only the second series win by Sri Lanka against India, the first coming way back in 1985 when Duleep Mendis led them to a 1-0 win against Kapil Dev's team in Colombo.India's woeful overseas record continued, keeping it without a series win abroad since a 1-0 victory in Sri Lanka in 1993. India has not won a series outside the sub-continent since defeating England 2-0 in 1986.Indian captain Saurav Ganguly also suffered his first series defeat after taking over as captain from Sachin Tendulkar for the inaugural Test against Bangladesh last year.In 11 Tests as captain, Ganguly has won six and lost four, while one home Test against Zimbabwe last November was drawn.Ganguly sorely missed five injured stars -- star batsmen Tendulkar and Venkatsai Laxman, bowling spearheads Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble and rising left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra -- as his young team capitulated to the Sri Lankans.India added four runs to its overnight score of 217 for 6 when Chaminda Vaas earned the first break of the day by trapping Hemang Badani leg-before for 11.In the next over, India slid to 221 for 8 when Sameer Dighe was run out after new man Harbhajan Singh declined his call for a sharp single.Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan offered unexpected resistance by adding 48 for the ninth wicket, the second-highest stand of the innings after the 107 by openers Shiv Sundar Das and Sadagopan Ramesh on Saturday.Harbhajan swung Muthiah Muralitharan for a six while making 17 before he hooked Vaas down Marvan Atapattu's throat at deep square-leg.Zaheer went on to hit 45 off 40 balls, including two towering sixes off Muralitharan, before holing out in the deep against the off spinner.Muralitharan took 11 wickets in the match to emerge the highest wicket-taker in the series with 22.Sri Lanka have a three-day rest before taking on Bangladesh in the Asian Test Championship at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground here from September 6.India, who pulled out of the Championship after refusing to play Pakistan for political reasons, have three weeks off before embarking on a tour of South Africa later this month.

Copyright AFP 2001

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