Sri Lanka lose early wickets chasing modest target

Published: Monday, August 11, 2008, 16:00 [IST]
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Sri Lanka suffered early setbacks chasing a modest 122-run target to win the third and final Test against India on the penultimate day here on Monday.

The hosts lost Michael Vandort and Kumar Sangakkara in the first seven overs before reaching 45-2 in their second innings at tea. Malinda Warnapura was unbeaten on 20 and skipper Mahela Jayawardene on 10 not out at the break.

The series is tied at 1-1, with Sri Lanka winning the opening Test by an innings and 239 runs and India posting a 170-run victory in the second match.

The tourists were bowled out for 268 in their second innings despite fighting half-centuries from middle-order batsmen Rahul Dravid (68) and an injured Venkatsai Laxman (61 not out).

India were without paceman Ishant Sharma, who batted with a runner but was unfit to bowl after falling on his follow-through on Saturday.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh shared the new ball with Zaheer Khan and struck with his fourth delivery when he bowled out-of-form opener Vandort (eight), who finished the series with just 39 runs.

Left-arm seamer Zaheer claimed a big wicket in his fourth over when he removed Sangakkara, who drove straight to Gautam Gambhir at mid-off. Sangakkara, who cracked a solid 144 in the first innings, contributed only four runs.

Sri Lankan spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis earlier dashed India's hopes of setting a challenging target as they shared three of the five wickets after the tourists had resumed at 161-5.

Unorthodox spinner Mendis had a well-set Dravid caught at first slip by Jayawardene for his third victim of the innings to finish the series with 26 wickets, the highest by any bowler in a debut three-Test series.

The previous record-holder was Englishman Alec Bedser, who took 24 wickets against India at home in 1946.

Dravid and Laxman batted defiantly to add 85 for the sixth wicket before Mendis ended India's fightback. Dravid hit six fours in his 166-ball knock, his first half-century of the series.

Laxman, batting with a runner after twisting his left ankle on Saturday, hit three fours in his second half-century of the series.

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