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Sri Lanka 312 for two on first day

Sri Lanka made 312 for two in their first innings against India at the end of the first day's play in the second cricket Test in Colombo on Monday. See Graphics

cricket Updated: Jul 27, 2010 00:58 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Had it not been for the band of musicians that kept playing popular Hindi, Tamil and Sinhala songs throughout the day, the thousand-odd fans scattered all over the Sinhalese Sports Club would have fallen asleep after lunch on the opening day of India's second Test against Sri Lanka on Monday.

Once Tillakaratne Dilshan perished after scoring an enterprising fifty in the morning, there was hardly any action as the Lankan batsmen milked bland Indian bowling to end the opening day at 312 for 2. Despite opener Tharanga Paranavitana (100) and skipper Kumar Sangakkara (130 not out) recording centuries in successive Tests, the day produced few eye-catching moments.

After taking the sheen out of an already spineless bowling attack, Paranavitana and Sangakkara set up a platform for another mammoth first-innings total. But as both avoided risk, there was barely a roar from the stands in appreciation of an excellent stroke in the last two sessions.

There were only three moments that excited the crowd — once when Paranavitana danced down the wicket to hoick Harbhajan over midwicket in the post-lunch session, the other two in the 71st over when both southpaws celebrated their centuries. Paranavitana was the first to reach the landmark, courtesy a Pragyan Ojha misfield. Two balls later, Sangakkara stepped out and hit Sehwag over mid-on for a boundary and celebrated his 23rd hundred, his eighth at one of his most favourite venues.

In the next over, as Paranavitana played one from Ishant Sharma on to his stumps, there was hardly a sound from a handful of Indian supporters. In fact, hardly any of the fielders, except Suresh Raina, realised that the ball had clipped bail to help India break the 174-run stand that lasted 325 balls.

The morning session, however, was full of action as the day started off with murmurs of Yuvraj Singh's unavailability. Soon, it was clarified by the Indian team management that Yuvraj was ruled out with fever. It was also announced that opener Gautam Gambhir, suffering a niggle in his right knee, was benched. This meant Raina would make his debut, while Murali Vijay will accompany Sehwag at the top of the order.

Then the focus was on the toss. And just like in Galle last week, MS Dhoni was on the losing side, thus hinting that the Indian fielders would be in for a long day on a flat track. Dilshan soon confirmed the suspicion as he blazed his way to fifty. The opener scored four consecutive boundaries off Ishant Sharma in the fourth over and didn’t look back. Just as Dilshan was set to pile on the misery, he blasted one off Ojha in the air, but unfortunately for him it went straight to VVS Laxman at short extra cover.

With Sangakkara going strong with Mahela Jaywardene (13 not out) at stumps, as the Indians bowlers made their way to the dressing room, they would have started preparing for Tuesday's toil.