Thatscricket - News - Murali frustrates efforts of Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Zaheer gives India upper hand at lunch
India's tour of Sri Lanka
Kandy: Muthaiah Muralitharan is the local hero. He had the crowd on its feet with his swashbuckling knock. Muralis cameo turned things Lankas way and the hosts were staring at a fairly healthy second innings lead of 263 runs. Murali blasted 67 runs off 65 balls and added a record 64 runs for the 10th wicket with Ruchira Perera. Sri Lanka was all out for 221 with Murali holing out to Ramesh off Harbhajan Singh.The Indians appeared to be setting themselves a realistic target, but Murali made all the difference. With a little over two days remaining, the Indians, will have to really bat well to score a series-levelling victory. The Sri Lankans are jinxed at Kandy and the Indians will have to now harp on this psychological ploy for the morale boosting victory.Venkatesh Prasad and Zaheer Khan bowled splendidly to give India hopes of victory. Bowling well within themselves, they stifled the Sri Lanka batsmen; never allowing a big partnership to prosper. Murali, however, changed the complexion from 157 for nine. While Zaheer Khan struck in the first session of play, it was Venkatesh Prasad all the way in the post lunch session. Zaheer Khans determined bowling effort helped India keep the Sri Lankan batsmen in check in the first session. Sri Lanka was restricted to 124 for five at lunch.India, in fact, began proceedings on a healthy note with the bowlers showing a great sense of application and discipline. Zaheer Khan was the pick of the Indian bowlers as he bowled well within himself.Zaheer Khan bowled a superb first over to give India an early break through. Zaheer was bang on target from ball one and was forcing Sangakkara to play. After bringing two balls in, Zaheer made one to move away just enough to take the edge for Sameer Dighe to complete the catch. Venkatesh Prasad then moved one late outside the off stump for Marvan Atapattu to get a thick outside edge of an intended push. A diving Dighe made no mistake and Sri Lanka lost its third wicket with 84 runs on the board. Zaheer then forced Mahela Jayawardene to play away from his body for Hemang Badani to take the catch in the slip cordon.Russel Arnolds poor run in the series continued as he was plumb in front to Zaheer. Arnold and Dighe exchanged a few words as the batsman walked away to the pavilion.