Delhi opener Gautam Gambhir made up for his first innings poor performance with a strokeful 60 as the three-day match between India and Sri Lanka Board XI petered to a mundane draw at the Nondescripts Cricket Club Ground.
After the Indians declared their first innings at the overnight score of 196 for eight, the hosts scored 247 for six in 55 overs before asking skipper Anil Kumble and his men to take strike again.
India lost Virender Sehwag (14) and Rahul Dravid (26) before reaching 129 for two in 31 overs as the match ended in a stalemate.
Gambhir, who had scored just four in the first innings, was not out on a fluent 60 off 82 balls with the help of eight boundaries.
Sourav Ganguly was unbeaten on 22 off 45 balls that included just one boundary as the left-hander decided to spend maximum time in the middle.
With Kumble deciding to give his bowlers a go at the Sri Lankans, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma removed off-colour Upul Tharanga (5) and Mahela Udawatte (15) to reduce the hosts to 29 for two.
Harbhajan Singh once again scalped a couple but Chamara Silva (59 not out) and Dammika Prasad (43 not out) put their foot down to ensure there was no batting collapse and set India a target of 276.
India had a poor start as Sehwag returned after a run-a-ball 14 even though Gambhir was determined to make the best of the opportunity.
Dravid had lasted just 10 balls in the first innings and he had a prolonged 47-ball stay on Sunday.
With Sachin Tendulkar hitting 69 in the first innings to prove there is no cobweb in his batting, the think-tank promoted Ganguly, who had a forgettable first innings.
Ganguly responded by hanging out there to get into the groove and spent as much time possible in the middle.
ICC to inspect umpire referral system
The ICC general manager (cricket), Dave Richardson, will be here next week to inspect the infrastructure that has been put in place to operationalise the umpire referral system which goes on trial during the Test series. The system will allow cricketers to challenge the umpire’s decision to obviate controversies and bring in greater transparency in the game.
“We have as many as 22 cameras installed for the first Test match beginning July 23 and the ICC chief will be taking a look at the infrastructure and the installation of a large number of cameras ahead of the Test,” a top Sri Lanka Cricket official said.
The official said Richardson and other officials, including those from Sri Lanka, will be briefed by experts on how to use the system.
Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara said the new system will help in improving decision making though the players will have to show responsibility while challenging any decision.
“This series will mark an important change in world cricket with the commencement of a referrals trial in which teams will be entitled to up to three unsuccessful referrals per innings,” Sangakkara said.
The on-field captain or the batsman (not the non-striker) will be entitled to appeal by making a ‘T’ sign with his arms. “I am very supportive of the trial as I believe it will help improve decision-making and reduce incorrect decisions, especially in cases where a clear-cut mistake has been made,” Sangakkara wrote in a column in the Sunday Times.
Sri Lanka Board XI 1st innings 224
India 1st innings 196-8 decl
Sri Lanka Board XI 2nd innings
Tharanga c Karthik b Khan 5, Udawatte c Harbhajan b Sharma 15, Mubarak c Sehwag b Harbhajan 41, Kapugedera lbw b Patel 22, Kandamby c Tendulkar b Harbhajan 27, Silva not out 59
Silva run out 13, Prasad not out 43
Extras (b-7, nb-15) 22
Total (for 6 wkts decl; 55 overs) 247
Fall of wkts: 1-11, 2-29, 3-96, 4-100, 5-139, 6-173
Bowling: Zaheer 13-2-61-1, Ishant 9-1-36-1, Munaf 9-1-33-1, Harbhajan 16-4-53-2, Ganguly 1-0-12-0, Sehwag 6-1-41-0, Gambhir 1-0-4-0
India 2nd innings
Sehwag c Kapugedera b Prasad 14, Gambhir not out 60, Dravid b Herath 26, Ganguly not out 22
Extras (b-5, nb-2) 7
Total: (for 2 wkts; 31 overs) 129
Fall of wkts: 1-21, 2-87
Bowling: de Silva 7-0-35-0, Prasad 6-1-28-1, Kapugedera 3-1-4-0, Prasanna 8-0-31-0, Herath 6-0-23-1, Mubarak 1-0-3-0