Thatscricket - News - Murali strikes, India still needs 209 for series-levelling victory

Published: Friday, August 24, 2001, 0:00 [IST]
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Kandy: India has a real battle on its hands. One man named Muthiah Muralitharan made all the difference. After wielding the willow with gay abandon, Murali took the wicket of Shiv Sundar Das to put India on 55 for one still requiring 209 runs for victory.Indian openers Shiv Sundar Das and Sadagopan Ramesh raised big hopes for India with an opening partnership of 42 runs. But star bowler Murali sent the creeps into the Indian spine by castling Das for 19.Rahul Dravid began positively with a straight driven four. But, can the Indians hold their nerve and score the remaining runs is indeed the moot question. The ball is indeed turning prodigiously for Murali and the Indians will have to be really weary of his slow bowling.Local hero Murali, in fact had the home crowd on its feet with his swashbuckling knock. Muralis cameo turned things Lankas way and the hosts built 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 SinghThe Indians appeared to be setting themselves a realistic target, but Murali made all the difference. 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 began the day positively with the bowlers showing a great sense of application and discipline. Zaheer Khan was the pick of the Indian bowlers in the first session of play.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.

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