Herath sends India ~~A~~ packing

Published: Sunday, December 7, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai: Left-arm spinner Rangan Herath took four for 34 as Sri Lanka 'A' bowled India 'A' out for 172 in less than 50 overs on the opening day of the four-day third cricket Test at the Braboune Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.

But the visitors found themselves in a tight spot after coming out to bat, being reduced to 134 for four in 42 overs at stumps.

India 'A' skipper Shiv Sunder Das won the toss and elected to bat first. However, as insipid batting performance by the hosts saw them lose their last six wickets for just five runs off 22 balls after coasting at 138 for three at one stage. Herath, who was on a hat-trick twice but failed to claim the feat, bowled a superb line and length and was ably supported by right-arm medium pacers Lashita Malinga (two for 49) and Taranga Lakshita (two for 49).

The top order batsmen were left blaming themselves for the situation the team found itself in. The top four -- S S Das (39 off 60 balls), Gautam Gambir (18 off 24 balls), Mohammed Kaif (33 off 64 balls) and Hemang Badani (47 off 65 balls) – got off to good starts but failed to covert those into big scores. Second Test century-maker Rohan Gavaskar (6) and Ambati Rayudu (8) disappointed, going for rash strokes too early in their innings, while the tail failed to wag.

After bowling out the Indians 20 minutes before tea in 47.3 overs, the visitors were precariously placed at 69 for four off 23.2 over before their skipper, Naveed Nawaz (batting 46 off 81 balls), and A Polonowita (batting 38 off 61 balls) steadied the innings with an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 65 runs.

For the Indians, left-arm spinner Murali Kartik bowled superbly to take three wickets, conceding 48 runs, while medium pacer Siddharth Trivedi, who came in place of tearaway paceman Munaf Patel, got one for 18.

Earlier, a fourth-wicket partnership of 66 runs in 17 overs between Kaif and Badani gave some respectability to the India 'A' total after the openers added 34 runs and another 38-run stand between Das and Kaif. Badani, who emerged as the top scorer with 47, went for an uppish drive and gave a simple catch to rival skipper Nawaz at mid-off off Lakshita. He hit eight shots to the fence.

Das (39) hit seven fours before he played all over a Malinga yorker and was bowled. Kaif was unfortunately run out after making 33 with four hits to the fence. Rohan Gavaskar too was guilty of playing a rash stroke and was out caught at mid-on off Lakshita while Rayudu chased a short delivery from Herath and tapped the ball to the slip. Herath then accounted for the last three Indian wickets as Amit Mishra, Kartik and Amit Bhandari failed to open their account.

India 'A' hopeful of a repeat performance

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