Dravid heroics put India in command

Published: Monday, November 16, 2009, 20:30 [IST]
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Dravid heroics put India in command

Ahmedabad: Dravid again proved that he is an impregnable wall as he is known as Mr Wall.

Rahul Dravid and Mahendra Singh Dhoni put Sri Lanka's inexperienced attack to the sword by smashing centuries to leave the hosts at 385 for six at close.

Sachin Tendulkar failed with the bat on the 20th anniversary of his Test debut but India recovered to build an impressive first innings total in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Ahmedabad.

Sri Lanka began brightly with Chanaka Welegedara claiming three wickets in his first four overs with the new ball to leave the hosts reeling at 32 for four.

India Vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Scorecard

Dravid, however, led India's revival with an excellent unbeaten 177 and put on 125 for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh (68) and a 225-run stand with Dhoni (110) as India reached a commanding 385 for six at stumps.

Welegedara, playing only his second Test match, exploited the moisture in the pitch in the morning to prise out Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar cheaply.

Dammika Prasad, who had shared the new ball with Welegedara, added to the destruction by bowling VVS Laxman via an inside edge as India crumbled.

Dravid was then joined by Yuvraj and they pieced together India's recovery. Although Yuvraj was watchful once the master spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was introduced, the runs flowed steadily.

Dravid even clubbed the left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for a rare six and reached his half-century off just 79 deliveries.

Sri Lanka's captain, Kumar Sangakkara, was forced to do without the frontline bowlers Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara through injury and the inexperience of Prasad and Welegedara – the two have played only four Test matches between them – gradually emerged.

Muralitharan, who had stuck to a hardly menacing leg-side line right through the innings, ended the partnership in the afternoon session by snaring Yuvraj.

Sri Lanka took the second new ball with just eight overs remaining in the day, but Dhoni reached his second Test hundred with a boundary off Herath.

Dravid by then had gone past 150 and later went past 11,000 career runs in Test cricket.

Dhoni fell with just under three overs left, top-edging Prasad to Prasanna, but Dravid and Harbhajan Singh saw off the last few deliveries without further blemish.

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