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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Sehwag, Vijay give India good start after Lanka carnage

Sehwag, Vijay give India good start after Lanka carnage

Last updated on: July 27, 2010 17:59 IST

- Scorecard

India, chasing Sri Lanka's huge total of 642 for four, got off to a good start and ended day two in the second Test on 95 for no loss.

Virender Sehwag was unbeaten on a well-made 64, with Murali Vijay on 22, at the SSC Ground in Colombo on Tuesday.

As the second day's play ended, there was some retribution for the Indians while the Sri Lankans had got a taste of their own medicine.

The fact that they have all their wickets intact will be a huge confidence boost for India considering they have a mountain to climb in the next few days.

However, they can take confidence from the fact that if their own bowlers had been vapid, the Sri Lankans also were equally insipid, at least on Tuesday.

The absence of Lasith Malinga and the now-retired Muttiah Muralitharan has definitely made the Lankan bowling attack far less potent.

None of the Sri Lankan bowlers, and there were five of them used -- Dilhara Fernando, Dammika Prasad, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis and Suraj Randiv -- looked capable of doing any serious damage to the Indian batting, unless the latter commit hara kiri.

Also significant is the fact that the wicket at the SSC was a batsman's paradise on the opening two days. If 312 runs were scored on day one, the second day witnessed a whopping 425 runs being scored.

And only four wickets fell on these two days.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, courtesy their top order batsmen, gained total control of the match before making a long impending declaration.

The home team, resuming at 312 for two, eventually declared at 642 for four, with Thilan Samaraweera remaining unbeaten on 76.

It was the second highest total by Sri Lanka at the SSC ground, behind the 756 for five against South Africa in 2006.

The declaration happened soon after Mahela Jayawardene (174) was caught at short midwicket by Suresh Raina off Harbhajan Singh.

Jayawardene's 244-ball knock comprised 20 hits to the fence and a huge one over it.

And his dismissal, besides bringing to an end a 176-run stand for the fourth wicket, also ensured Harbhajan his first wicket of the series.

Jayawardene and SangakkaraEarlier, captain Kumar Sangakkara led from the front, making a spectacular 219.

It was the fourth occasion that both Sangakkara and Jayawardene scored tons in the same match.

And for the record, Sri Lanka emerged victorious on the three other occasions.

And judging from the manner in which the Sri Lankan batsmen dominated proceedings in the five-and-a-half sessions, it would suffice to say that to make the home side bat a second time in this match would take a herculean effort.

Morning session: (145 runs, 29 overs, no wickets)

Kumar Sangakkara started the day with a superb boundary off Abhimanyu Mithun, one that went through the right of mid-off.

The second ball of the day was flicked throug the midwicket, the result being the same.

Two boundaries off the first two balls bowled on the day and the writing was clear: the home team wanted to make the most of their advantage.

Sri Lanka had scored 312 for two at close of play on day one, with Sangakkara unbeaten on 130 and Mahela Jayawardene on 13.

The Sri Lankan captain helped himself to three successive boundaries in Mithun's third over - the fifth of the day, the second of which helped him surpass the 150-run mark.

It was the 12th occasion when Sangakkara had scored 150-plus in an innings, thereby joining his former captain and present non-striker (Mahela Jayawardene) as the only two Lankan batsmen to achieve the feat.

Jayawardene also cut loose with a couple of boundaries off Ishant Sharma.

Another boundary from his blade, this time off Pragyan Ojha over mid-on completed the 100-run partnership for the third wicket.

It was the 12th time that the Sangakkara-Jayawardene combine had featured in a 100-run stand, a Lankan record bettering the 11 such instances set by Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda De Silva.

Shortly after, a single off Ojha helped Jayawardene complete what was his 36th half century in Test cricket. And he celebrated the same with successive boundaries.

Then came Sangakkara's turn to make Ojha suffer. And the Lankan captain hit four boundaries in five balls to move on to 199.

A square drive, well clear of the slip fielder, in Harbhajan's next over not only reached the boundary but also helped Sangakkara complete a well-deserved double hundred.

It was the Sri Lankan captain's seventh double ton in Test cricket, taking him one ahead of Marvan Atapattu, and making him the batsman with the most double hundreds for his country.

At lunch (after 119 overs), the home team had scored 457 for two, with Sangakkara batting on 214 and Jayawardene on 71.

Post-lunch session: (140 runs, 31 overs, one wicket)

The second session began on an auspicious note for the visitors.

Kumar Sangakkara was dismissed soon after resumptiion.

In the fourth over after proceedings resumed, Virender Sehwag induced an edge off Sangakkara's blade and Rahul Dravid made no mistake at first slip.

The visitors had at last got the breakthrough they so desperately sought.

The Sri Lankan captain's 219 was inclusive of 29 hits to the fence and his dismissal brought to an end a third wicket partnership that yielded the home team 193 runs.

The experienced Sri Lankan duo had scored at a brisk pace and ensured their team an upper hand.

Sangakkara's dismissal marked the arrival of Thilana Samaraweera and the latter's agenda was clear from the outset: to score at a good pace.

That probably explained the slew of boundaries from his blade soon after he arrived.

Jayawardene, meanwhile, carried on at the other end and a couple off Harbhajan helped him reach his 28th Test hundred.

It was the former captain's 19th ton at home and his sixth against India.

It also helped him break the legendary Sir Don Bradman's record of most centuries at a venue. Jayawardene now has 10 Test tons at the SSC, one more than the Don's nine at the MCG.

Thereafter, Jayawardene and Samaraweera started scoring at a faster rate and in no time completed the 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

The latter completed his 22nd Test half century in quick time.

At tea (after 150 overs), the home team had made 587 for three, with Mahela Jayawardene batting on 143 and Thilan Samaraweera on 52.

Post-tea session:

SL innings: (55 runs, 9.4overs, one wicket)

Sri Lanka scored at almost a run-a-ball before drawing curtains.

The home team eventually declared at 642 for four (in 159.4 overs), with Thilan Samaraweera remaining unbeaten on 76.

The declaration happened soon after Mahela Jayawardene (174) was caught at short midwicket by Suresh Raina off Harbhajan Singh.

Jayawardene's 244-ball knock comprised 20 hits to the fence and a huge one over it.

And his dismissal, besides bringing to an end a 176-run stand for the fourth wicket, also ensured Harbhajan his first wicket of the series.

India innings: (95 runs, 18 overs, no wickets)

Chasing a mammoth Lankan total, India got off to a steady start.

The visitors, needing 442 runs just to avoid follow-on, began aggressively before settling down a bit towards the end of the day's play.

Sehwag was at his usual belligerent best in his 64 not out - inclusive of 12 boundaries, and brought up his fifty in style with a boundary towards point off Fernando.

Meanwhile Vijay, in the squad in place of the injured Gautam Gambhir, was at his cautious best and provided a perfect foil to Sehwag's aggression.

And the visitors ensured what they had set out to at the start of their innings.

They didn't lose a wicket on the day, surviving to fight another day.

Also read:

Sri Lanka dominate Day One

Yawn. Must we have so much cricket?