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Down but not out

cricket Updated: Nov 19, 2009 23:30 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
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Half an hour into India’s second innings, Virender Sehwag attempted a non-existent run at mid-on. He was nowhere near the crease when Muttiah Muralitharan’s throw missed the stumps at the bowler’s end.

True to his style, Sehwag lived dangerously to entertain the crowd on yet another batsman-dominated day, before succumbing to his adventurism for a 67-ball 51. Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir then steadied the ship with an 88-run partnership.

It looked like the Dravid-Gambhir pair would see off the day, but with five overs left for stumps, a debatable leg before decision sent Dravid back. He missed an attempted flick off Chanaka Welegedara, bowling round the wicket, and umpire Daryl Harper upheld the appeal. However, TV replays showed the ball would have barely, if at all, clipped the leg stump.

Trailing by 144 runs, India ended the fourth day of the first Test on 190 for two. At stumps, Gambir was unbeaten on 74 with night watchman Amit Mishra giving him company on 12. Having piled 760 runs that gave them a 334-run first innings lead, Lanka gave themselves 135 overs to bowl out the hosts.

Sehwag edged Dammika Prasad in second over and though Prasanna Jayawardene could not grab the opportunity, there was a spring in the Lankan strides. There was hardly any assistance for the bowlers from the wicket and Dravid and Gambhir had little trouble, scoring at will, before the former was adjudged leg before.

Lankans pile on the agony

Earlier, Sri Lanka frustrated the bowlers in the morning session. Despite taking the new ball in the very first over, the hosts could hardly trouble Mahela and Prasanna. They added 117 runs in 31 overs before lunch, with Prasanna reaching his second Test century. Batting for over three sessions, the duo broke the world record for the sixth wicket partnership with a 351-run stand. Leg spinner Amit Mishra went for 203 runs and the lone success he had could be attributed to Mahela’s urgency to score quick runs.

Prasanna was unbeaten on 154 when Kumar Sangakkara declared 45 minutes after tea, putting an end to India’s agony.