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Rediff.com  » Sports » Bad light halts SL's charge on day one

Bad light halts SL's charge on day one

Last updated on: July 18, 2010 17:09 IST

- Scorecard

Kumar Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana hit centuries to put Sri Lanka on top against India on a truncated opening day of the first Test in Galle, on Sunday.

Having elected to bat, Sri Lanka were sitting pretty on 256 for two in 68 overs before play was called off early due to bad light.

Paranavitana, who brought up his maiden Test century, was unbeaten on 112 from 229 balls, having hit 12 boundaries, and Mahela Jayawardene was not out on eight from 14 balls.

Sangakkara made a fluent 103 from 145 balls, laced with 12 boundaries, before he pulled a short delivery from Virender Sehwag straight to the fielder on the midwicket boundary. The Sri Lankan captain provided his team with the perfect platform as he put on 181 runs in 236 balls for the second wicket with Paranavitana.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was the only wicket to fall in the morning session when he was caught behind off debutant Abhimanyu Mithun after a quick 25 from 24 balls.

Mithun impressed with the ball as he took one for 41 in 13 overs, while Sehwag claimed one for 23 in seven overs.

Harbhajan Singh, struggling with his fitness, bowled 17 overs without success, while Pragyan Ojha failed to find the right line as he gave away 66 runs in 17 overs.

Earlier, It was struggle for the Indian bowlers on a slow wicket at the Galle International stadium as runs came quite freely in the first two session. Debutant Abhimanyu Mithun provided the only bright spot for the visitors when he claimed the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan in the morning, but his new ball partner Ishant Sharma struggled.

Earlier, the start of play on the opening day was delayed by 30 minutes because of a wet outfield caused by heavy overnight rain which meant only 20 overs were possible in the morning session.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was the only wicket to fall in the morning session when he was caught behind off debutant Abhimanyu Mithun. Dilshan hit a quick 25 from 24 balls with the help of five boundaries before he tried to pull a short delivery but only gloved it behind to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and give Mithun his first Test wicket.

The right-hander had given Sri Lanka a quick start, having put on 55 runs in 61 balls for the opening wicket with Paranavitana.

20-year-old Mithun impressed with a good probing spell with the new ball and was deservedly rewarded with the wicket of Dilshan. Mithun showed no nerves as he stuck on a good line and length right from the start, just concentrating on the basics. 

On the other hand, Ishant Sharma struggled to find his rhythm and conceded as many as nine boundaries in his five-over spell, giving away 41 runs.

Harbhajan Singh was introduced early, in the tenth over, after Ishant failed to make an impression with the new ball and he also tried to keep a tab on the scoring rate with a probing spell of six overs, giving away nine runs.

At lunch on the opening day, Sri Lanka reached 91 for one in 20 overs with Paranavitana on 35 (59 balls) and Sangakkara unbeaten on 25 from 39 balls.

Things didn't improve much for India in the post lunch session as Sri Lankan batsmen continued to milk the bowlers with considerable ease.

The two batsmen seemed to be racing against each to complete their half-centuries. Paranavitana was the first to bring up his fifty off 100 balls with a single on the off-side against part-timer Virender Sehwag. Off the very next delivery, Sangakkara pulled a short delivery for a boundary through midwicket to reach his fifty from 79 balls as Sri Lanka reached 135 for one after 34 overs.

After bowling 12 overs, Harbhajan went off the field after suffering from some hamstring injury further depleting India's weak bowling resources.

Sangakkara tried not to let the young Ojha settle down as he hit him for two consecutive boundaries through the leg side, in the 44th over. In his next over, Paranavitana charged down the wicket and slammed him down the ground for another four.

Harbhajan came back for another dispelling all doubts about his fitness, but still India failed to get that elusive breakthrough.

Sangakkara cut a short delivery from Harbhajan through the point to move into the 90s, while Paranavitana was content to play second fiddle as he looked steady on 81.

The Sri Lankan captain was eager to complete his hundred before the tea break and he did exactly the same. The left-hander brought up his century off 136 balls with a single on the leg side off Ishant in the penultimate over of the session.

At the tea interval, Sri Lanka were in sight of a big total as they 228 for one in 58 overs with Sangakkara unbeaten on 100 and Paranavitana unbeaten on 95.

It was celebration time for Sri Lanka once again after the break as Paranavitana brought up his maiden Test century off 200 balls with two runs on the thirdman region in the 61st over.

It was part-timer Sehwag, who brought India some relief when he claimed the wicket of Sangakkara for 103. The Sri Lankan captain, who hit 12 boundaries in his 145-ball knock, pulled a short delivery straight into the hands of Sachin Tendulkar on the midwicket boundary.

Sangakkara had ensured that Sri Lanka dominate proceedings in the first two sessions as he put on 181 runs in 236 balls for the second wicket with Paranavitana.

A few more overs followed before the umpires called the players back into the pavilion as it got darker with Sri Lanka sitting pretty on 256 for two in 68 overs.