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India trounce Sri Lanka, take No 1 ranking

Last updated on: December 06, 2009 10:31 IST
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- Scorecard: India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test

Pacer Zaheer Khan claimed five wickets as India crushed Sri Lanka by an innings and 24 runs in the third and final Test to win the three-match series 2-0 and climb to the number one position in the ICC Test rankings.

The Sri Lankan innings lasted just 7.4 overs and 35 minutes on the final day.

Zaheer claimed five wickets for 72 runs in 21 overs, as the visitors were dismissed for 309 in 100.4 overs in their second innings, at the Brabourne stadium, in Mumbai, on Sunday.

Zaheer rocked Sri Lanka with the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara in the first over of the day. Sri Lanka's captain scored 137 from 261 deliveries, inclusive of 20 boundaries and a six, before he was beaten by the late swing and edged behind to the wicketkeeper.

The left-arm pacer completed a five-wicket haul when he had Nuwan Kulasekara caught at second slip for 19 from 68 deliveries.

Muttiah Muralitharan hit three boundaries to score 14 before he was the last wicket to fall when Harbhajan Singh had him caught behind. That gave India their successive innings victory over the Sri Lankans.

This is the first time that India has topped the ICC Test rankings since they were introduced in 2002. They are only the third nation to claim the number one spot, after Australia and South Africa.

On Saturday, Sangakkara had led from the front with the bat with a battling century to keep Sri Lanka afloat on day four. With the Sri Lankan middle order failing yet again, Sangakkara, after a cautious start, rose to the occasion with a brilliant century to end his run of poor scores in the series.

Earlier, Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed his way to his third Test century, after Virender Sehwag missed a world record third triple hundred, to boost India to a record total. Dhoni slammed 100 off 154 deliveries, and Sehwag 293, as India posted a record 726 for 9 declared in 163.3 overs, their highest total in Test cricket. India surpassed the 705 for 7 declared they put up against Australia at Sydney in January 2004.

Sehwag missed a world record third triple century when he was dismissed after a swashbuckling innings of 293, caught and bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan.

Morning session:

Sangakkara got the innings off on day five with a boundary through the point region in the first over of the day, bowled by Zaheer.

However, Zaheer had his man off the very next delivery, having the Sri Lankan captain caught behind with a full delivery that swung late.

Sri Lanka's last hope Sangakkara was dismissed, caught behind by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after a wonderful innings of 137 from 261 deliveries, inclusive of 20 boundaries and a six. (278-7, 93.3)

Rangana Herath (3) was outdone by Zaheer's lethal bouncer and could only pull it to midwicket, where Pragyan Ojha took a good catch, leaping forward. (282-2, 97.1)

Muralitharan showed his intentions from the start as he heaved the first delivery he faced, from Zaheer, through the midwicket for a boundary.

In the same over, he repeated the shot again for another boundary through midwicket and off the next delivery managed another four as he somehow got some bat to the bouncer for his third boundary of the over, through the fine leg region.

Nuwan Kulasekara also took a cue from Muralitharan and charged down the wicket and lofted Harbhajan for a four. He then tried to drive Zaheer through the off-side but got a thick edge which flew overs the slips for a boundary as Sri Lanka looked to score some quick runs and avoid an innings defeat.

But a couple of deliveries, Zaheer completed his five-wicket haul when he had Kulasekara caught at second slip by VVS Laxman for 19 from 68 deliveries. (307-9, 99.5)

Muralitharan's adventure didn't last long as he was caught behind by Dhoni off Harbhajan for 14 to give India another crushing victory.

In the end, Sehwag's breathtaking innings of 293 proved to be the major difference and left India with a lot of time to bowl out the Sri Lankans.

Zaheer enhanced his reputation as one of the top fast bowlers in world cricket as he took five for 72, while Harbhajan continued to improve, with figures of two for 80.

The teams now face-off in a two-match Twenty20 series, starting in Nagpur on December 9, followed by a five-match ODI series from December 15.

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