Thatscricket - News - Cricket: India on the brink of big innings defeat
Published: Saturday, September 1, 2001, 0:00 [IST]
Colombo: One run out undid all the good work. Rahul Dravid, the India anchorman, was caught short by a direct hit from Atapattu in a start, stop run and the Indians slipped from hopes of a draw to a certain defeat. The Indians ended the fourth day of the third Test on a dismal 217 for six at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground.Dravid had played excellently in negating the spin of Muthiah Muralitharan and with Saurav Ganguly trying to dig his heels in, one expected a decent fight for a draw from the Indians. But, by the draw of stumps the Sri Lankans were dictating terms to clinch the series. India is still 159 runs behind the Sri Lankan first innings lead.Earlier, the Murali magic left Indias left-handed opener Sadagopan Ramesh baffled. The ball pitched outside the leg stump, spun prodigiously past the defensive prod of Rameshs bat and pegged back the off stump. A superb off spinner from the wily old fox had undone Ramesh. The Indian opener had batted dourly putting all his life into his batting as the Indians battled with 376 runs behind in the first knock. The Indian openers acquitted themselves well till just about lunch. Lanka banked on Murali to exploit a wearing pitch. And Murali obliged, thanks to a fine catch at silly point by Hasan Thilakaratne. Shiv Sundar Das (68) was snaffled by the excellent catch.The fall of Dravid almost signalled the end of Indias resistance. The other batsmen merely delayed the formalities. Kaif, Ganguly and Sairaj Bahutule followed soon. Hemang Badani is the only recognised Indian bat at the crease. With just the tail at his disposal, it would indeed be a tall order to expect him to save the match.The Sri Lankans thus look forward to a series victory after 16 months, while the Indians still nurture the dream of winning a series abroad, even if it is in the sub-continent.