Dilshan hits century as Lanka restore parity
Tillakaratne Dilshan produced a scintillating century as Sri Lanka put up a spirited batting display to leave the first Test against India evenly poised at the end of the second day at Motera on Tuesday.
After polishing off the remaining four wickets in quick time to restrict India to 426 in the first innings, the in-form Dilshan (112) took centrestage with a fine exhibition of strokeplay to steer the islanders to a comfortable 275 for three at close on the second day.
Dilshan notched up his 10th Test century -- and the fifth this year -- to lay the foundation for a strong Lankan reply in excellent batting conditions at the Motera stadium which again saw more than 300 runs being scored.
Mahela Jayawardene (36) and Thilan Samaraweera (45) were at the crease at stumps with the visitors still trailing the hosts by 151 runs.
Image: Sri Lanka's captain Sangakkara congratulates team mate Dilshan after he completes his century against India in Ahmedabad
India had lone success between lunch and tea
Earlier, resuming at the score of 385-6, India lost their last four wickets for 41 runs and were all out soon after the first drinks break to allow the visitors to claw their way back into the game.
Lankan openers Dilshan and Paranavitana then prevented the home team from creating an early breakthrough before lunch.
The only wicket that the visitors lost in the post-lunch session was that of young left-hander Tharanga Paranavitana (35), who edged Ishant Sharma to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who caught it brilliantly one-handed by diving to the left in front of first slip Sachin Tendulkar.
Paranavitana, who looked hardly in trouble with Dilshan, was lured by a ball angled away from him and took the edge of his bat. He and his opening partner added 74 runs in quicktime and Paranavitana hit six fours in his 55-ball knock.
This was the lone success for the Indian bowlers in the session between lunch and tea that yielded 118 runs in 26 overs.
Image: India's captain Dhoni celebrates with team mates after wicket of Sri Lanka's Paranavitana during the first Test
Dilshan now has over 900 runs this year
Runs came at a brisk pace as the Lankans added 55 runs in 12 overs in the first post-lunch hour of play for Paranavitana's wicket and then 63 runs without losing a wicket in 14 overs till tea.
Dilshan, who has scored four centuries and over 900 runs this year, drove powerfully to the off side and played very few false strokes.
Both the pre-lunch and post-lunch sessions belonged to the visitors as they first fought back since yesterday's position and dismissed the last four Indian wickets for only 41 runs this morning.
Image: Sri Lanka's Dilshan plays shot as India's captain Dhoni watches during the first test cricket match in Ahmedabad
Zaheer stuck twice in succession
Paceman Zaheer Khan struck twice in quick succession by evicting Dilshan and Sangakkara in the last session with short-pitched deliveries to bring India back into the game but Jayawardene and Samaraweera ensured that there were no further setbacks.
Earlier while batting Zaheer, who was felled by a beamer from fast medium bowler Dammika Prasad after having struck two successive fours with slashes off the right-arm bowler, was trapped leg before when he played back to left arm spinner Rangana Herath.
He made 12.
Image: India's Zaheer Khan celebrates taking wicket of Sri Lanka's captain Kumar Sangakkara
Dravid failed to add to his overnight score
The morning session turned out to be quite disappointing for the hosts who could not really carry on the good work and saw the remaining four wickets fall without much resistance.
Left arm swing bowler Chanaka Welegedara got the important breakthrough early in the morning by getting rid of the well-set and ominous-looking Rahul Dravid at his overnight score of 177.
Dravid, looking all set to score his sixth double hundred, fell to the 10th ball he faced without any addition to his overnight score. He dragged a ball from Welegedara on to his stumps while trying to drive on the front foot.
In all, the Bangalore stalwart batted for 19 minutes over six hours, faced 261 balls and struck 26 fours and a six.
Dravid's departure just a quarter hour into day two dashed India's hopes of taking the score to the 500 mark.
Harbhajan Singh (22), not out 2 last evening, and Zaheer Khan (12) put on a brief stand worth 25 runs, but it was just a matter of time before they fell.
For Lanka, left armer Welegedara grabbed the bowling honours, claiming 4 for 87 - the prized scalps being those of Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, all on Monday, and Dravid.
Muralitharan, snapped up three for 97, taking two wickets today for seven runs in 23 balls, while Prasad, who was not shy of using bumpers and got a warning for the beamer bowled at Zaheer, picked up 2 for 106. Herath took the remaining wicket.
Image: India's Rahul Dravid is bowled during first test match against Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad