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Yawn! India score 707 as Test meanders to dull draw

After being clobbered throughout the series, the last thing India's bowlers wanted in the meaningless last two sessions of the final day's play was the Sri Lankan lions once again going after them. Amol Karhadkar reports.

cricket Updated: Jul 31, 2010 00:51 IST
Amol Karhadkar

After being clobbered throughout the series, the last thing India's bowlers wanted in the meaningless last two sessions of the final day's play was the Sri Lankan lions once again going after them.

But India's bowlers, especially the spinners, made full use of a session and a half to regain some lost confidence on a meaningless day's play at the Sinhalese Sports Club on Friday.

In the 45 overs Sri Lanka batted before the match was called off the hosts had garnered 129 for 3 in their second essay.

Not only did the spin trio of Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha and Virender Sehwag keep it tight but they also got some bite and turn off the wicket, which eventually started offering something for the bowlers - too little too late.

The spinners were helped by rookie paceman Abhimanyu Mithun who dismissed Tillakaratne Dilshan (14) off a short ball.

The key for Harbhajan, throughout his career has been an early wicket. If he gets it, then he grows in confidence and starts attacking even more. For the first time in the series, he succeeded in removing a Sri Lankan batsman in his opening spell, when he got rid of opener Tharanga Paranavitana (34).

Bowling round the wicket, Harbhajan drew the opener forward and got a thick edge to VVS Laxman at second slip.

As Sehwag and Ojha then complimented Harbhajan from the other end, for the first time, India were able to apply pressure from both ends.

While the left-arm spinner was unlucky not to have a wicket to his name, Sehwag eventually got rid of Mahela Jayawardene just before tea. Earlier in the morning, India's last pair of Ishant Sharma and Ojha frustrated the Sri Lankan players for almost an entire session.

With the outcome of the match already decided, India preferred to rest their bowlers as much as they could.

And Sharma and Ojha's 39-run stand that lasted 105 minutes not only saved them some toil but also helped India register their highest total away from home.

Their 707 surpassed the 705 for 7 made against Australia six years ago.