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Lankan batsmen pile on the runs

cricket Updated: Jul 14, 2010 00:23 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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A light drizzle on Tuesday morning delayed the start of India's tour opener against the Sri Lanka Board President's XI by 50 minutes. By the end of the day's play, the visitors were left wondering if it would have been better had the drizzle persisted.

Riding on centuries from opener Upul Tharanga (110), Thilina Kandamby (101) and skipper Thilan Samaweera (102), SLP XI piled up 432 for five at the picturesque Colombo Colts Cricket Club.

The strong batting line-up of the hosts and the absence of Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel meant the Indians knew they were in for a long haul after Mahendra Singh Dhoni lost the toss.

An early strike was the need of the hour but Rahul Dravid deprived the team of it. The world record-holder of most catches in Test cricket grassed a regulation offering from Tharanga in the fifth over off Ishant Sharma, by far the best bowler on view, when the southpaw was on 12.

The dashing batsman made full use of the opportunity as he raced to a classy century. His first seven scoring shots sped to the fence and the onslaught did not stop even after Dhoni introduced spin in the 10th over.

Tharanga came close to crossing the three-figure mark before lunch but since he slowed down in the last 10 minutes before the break, he had to wait for the second session to raise the bat in acknowledgement. At lunch, the scoreboard read 164 for no loss off 30 overs.

Despite Pragyan Ojha getting rid of Tharanga and his partner Lahiru Thirimanne (66) in quick succession after lunch, Kandamby and Samaraweera continued to score at will for the next three hours.

Though Ojha and Amit Mishra had wickets against their names, all the batsmen, barring Thirimanne, fell while trying to score.

Both spinners failed to exert pressure as they offered too many loose deliveries to the batsmen. India struck thrice towards the end with Mishra removing Kandambi and Ojha sending back Samaraweera but by that time Sri Lanka had completely overwhelmed the hapless Indians.

Dinesh Chandimal (5) and Kaushal Silva (6) were at the crease when stumps were drawn for the day at the Colts Cricket Club Ground.