Sehwag defies Sri Lankan attack with unbeaten 91

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2008, 13:30 [IST]
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Virender Sehwag hammered a quickfire 91 not out as India raced to 151 for no loss in their first innings at lunch on the opening day of the second Test here on Thursday.

The aggressive opener reached his 14th Test half-century when he cut off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for his eighth boundary. Gautam Gambhir was unbeaten on 50 at the break after the tourists elected to bat.

Sehwag faced just 82 balls, smashing one six and 14 fours in a superb exhibition of stroke-making on an easy-paced track.

Sri Lanka lead 1-0 in the three-Test series following their victory by an innings and 239 runs in the opening match in Colombo last week.

Gambhir was lucky to survive on 13 when he edged seamer Nuwan Kulasekara to first slip, but Kumar Sangakkara, apparently distracted by wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene diving in front of him, failed to hold on to the ball.

The lapse proved costly as Gambhir continued to provide valuable support to Sehwag. He has so far struck seven fours in his 92-ball innings.

Unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis, who made an eight-wicket debut in Colombo, was pressed into the attack in the 11th over but failed to replicate his success of the previous Test.

Sehwag did not allow Mendis to settle, lofting the bowler over long-on for a six and then cutting firmly for a four. He also punished Kulasekara, glancing and pulling for two fours in an over.

Mendis was replaced by left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas after giving away 37 runs in his opening six-over spell.

Muralitharan, who bagged 11 wickets in the previous Test, also could not test the Indian batsmen as he conceded 32 runs in his six overs.

India and Sri Lanka retained the sides that played in Colombo.

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