Spirited India draw level with emphatic win

Published: Sunday, August 3, 2008, 17:35 [IST]
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Opener Sehwag set the tone for India with a superb 201* in the first essay of the second Test against Lanka at GalleBangalore: What a comeback from Indian team in Galle and that too after suffering a morale-crushing defeat at SSC, Colombo last week. It was an incredible effort from lesser known players. How often have India won without any assistance from the much vaunted Fab-four?. Youngsters stood up to be counted when our seasoned players struggled.

The men who inspired India ... Sehwag's majestic 201 when all his more famous partners struggled to find their foot. Gambhir's measured knocks in both the innings. This southpaw from Delhi is maturing with every passing day. Harbhajan exploited the spinner-friendly conditions at Galle to the perfection. His 10 wicket haul was crucial with India fielding only four specialist bowler. His spinning partner Kumble too came up with tidy spells. And lastly it was Ishant who made the task easy for the tourists with a fiery spell in the second innings. The Lambu put the hosts in all sorts of trouble plucking three vital wickets up front.

Ishant started it all with a fiery first spell that saw the backs of quality Lankan batsmen before spinners Harbhajan and Kumble wasted no time to run thro' the tail as India avanged their humiliating defeat in Colombo last week with a comprehensive 170-run victory in the second Test at the Galle International Stadium on Sunday.

Lanka chasing a stiff 307-run victory target were skittled out for 136 in their second essay, thanks largely to the spells from Ishant (3/20) and Harbhajan (4/51). Kumble chipped in with 2/41 while Zaheer claimed the prized scalp of Sangakkara.


Thilan Samarweera left stranded with a well-knit 67. Dilshan made a strokeful 38. The duo did defy Indians for some time but couldn't avoid the inevitable on a rank turner and in fourth innings.

Ishant, who bowled with good pace and extracted good bounce too on a typical flat sub-continent wicket, left Lankans in all sorts of trouble plucking three top-order wickets in quick succession. The Lambu first had the in-form Malinda Warnapura caught by VVS Laxman at slip for a duck in his first over. A over later he accounted for the prized scalp of Mahela Jayawardene caught by Dravid at gully.

Zaheer induced Sangakkara to edge one to offer a simple catch to Laxman at slips and the Hyderabadi did the rest. The hosts slumped to 24/3 at lunch.

Just moments into the second session Harbhajan sent Vandort packing for a turtle-esque 10. Samarweera and Dilshan then took some time before settling down to deny Indians in the second session. The duo nudged for singles and twos interspersed with odd boundary hits as Lanka reached a comfortable 109/4 at tea.

However in the second over after tea interval Ishant induced an edge off Dilshan's balde thro' to the gloveman Karthik.

Spinners then got into act and wrecked havoc on the Lankan tail removing last five wickets for just six runs as hosts innings folded up meakly for 136. Harbhajan claimed three wickets while Kumble took two.

Earlier, Ajantha Mendis claimed 4/92 from 27.2 overs as India, who resumed the day on 200/4, were bowled out for 269 in their second innings.

Mendis completed match figures 10 for 209, his first 10-wicket haul in only his second Test match. The rookie spinner has an incredible haul of 18 wickets in two Test games.

Offie Murali plucked 3/107as India lost their last eight wickets for 69 runs.

Mendis provided hosts the first breakthrough of the morning when he trapped the clueless Laxman for 13. Karthik, who has had a poor run in the ensuing series, made his intentions clear of going after the ball. The stumper hit spinners six one each before trying one too many was caught in the deep off Murali.

Ganguly, who had earlier overturned an LBW decision by calling for a television review, was stumped off Murali for 16. Mendis then wasted no time to remove Kumble and Harbhajan and wrap up Indian innings for 269 to give his side a glimmer of hope.

Sehwag was adjudged as Man-of-the-Match for his classy unbeaten 201. The Delhi swashbuckler followed it up with 50 in second essay.


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