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India thump Lanka for 100th Test win

A dominant India took one-and-half sessions to complete the formalities and spank Sri Lanka by an innings and 144 runs in the second cricket Test to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series in Kanpur on Friday. This turned out to be India's 100th Test victory in their 432nd outing, reports Khurram Habib.

cricket Updated: Nov 28, 2009 13:38 IST
Khurram Habib

This is a new India, confident, brash and living for the moment — it has been in the making a few years now. But the short attention spans have an upside — the past doesn’t really matter.

As it was with India in this second Test against Sri Lanka here, where they posted a massive win, an innings and 144 runs, soon after struggling to save the last game at Ahmedabad.

When the day began, the question was whether India could wrap it up before lunch and post their biggest ever win. When they couldn’t do that, attention smoothly shifted to whether this would be the biggest win over their opponents.

That materialised, an hour after lunch, and, deed done, everyone was happy; Ahmedabad and the questions it raised about the team’s inconsistency, done and dusted.

For the record, Sri Lanka as good as surrendered.

“When you bat badly in the first innings, there is no motivation left for the second,” India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after the game.

It showed on the field on Friday. Angelo Mathews attempting a pull off a Zaheer Khan delivery outside off and simply popping it up to offer a simple catch to Rahul Dravid.

With him gone, Thilan Samaraweera had just Prasanna Jayawardene to bat alongside and the two played for time. Prasanna, who stayed an hour for his 29, was bowled through the gate when Harbhajan tossed one up. With him went Sri Lanka’s faint hopes of a miracle.

India, though, ran into a stubborn tail. Samaraweera, who chugged on, didn’t mind giving the strike to tailenders, who threw all they had at the Indian bowlers.

But whether the Sri Lankans took any satisfaction from flickering before being blown out is anybody’s guess.

Still, Muralitharan’s 29, which saw him gleefully bash Harbhajan around a bit, helped his team to 175 and avert the ignominy of being India’s most wretched victim. Still, the Indians only laughed and finally, Pragyan Ojha got his man. Samaraweera continued with Ajantha Mendis and that possibly, was the only intriguing passage of play on the day, forcing Dhoni to think out of the box and experiment.

The mystery spinner stayed an hour and a half for his 27. It was inconsequential in terms of the result but an abject lesson for Lanka’s more accomplished batsmen, who had given the game away without a fight.

This, incidentally, was India’s 100th Test win. India cannot lose the series from here, but if they want to get to top of the ICC Test rankings and end the year as the world’s No. 1 Test team, they need to win again in Mumbai next week. History, sometimes, does matter.

Scorecard

India 1st innings: 642

Sri Lanka 1st inn: 229

Sri Lanka 2nd inn (overnight 57/4)

Paranavitana lbw b Sehwag 20

Dilshan c Dhoni b Sreesanth 11

Sangakkara b Harbhajan 11

M Jayawardene run out 10

Samaraweera not out 78

Mathews c Dravid b Zaheer 15

P Jayawardene b Harbhajan 29

Herath lbw b Harbhajan 13

Muralitharan b Ojha 29

Mendis lbw b Yuvraj 27

Welegedara & b Ojha 4

Extras: (b-7, lb-1, nb-14) 22

(all out in 65.3 overs) 269

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-37, 3-54, 4-54, 5-79, 6-140, 7-154, 8-191, 9-264, 10-269.

Bowling: Zaheer 11-0-63-1, Sreesanth 11-4-47-1, Harbhajan 22-2-98-3, Sehwag 3-0-4-1, Ojha 15.3-4-36-2, Tendulkar 1-0-6-0, Yuvraj 2-0-7-1.

Player of the match: Sreesanth