- BV Swagath
Sri Lanka won the Galle Test by 10 wickets to lead the 3-Test Series 1-0. Its the 7th time that they have won a Test Match by 10 wickets. Muttiah Muralitharan signs off from Test Cricket in style by claiming 800 Test wickets which no other player has achieved till date!
Day 4 Report
Sri Lanka are closing in to win the rain-affected Galle Test with their bowlers taking as many as 12 Indian wickets in the fourth day's play! India after being forced to follow on are doing no better in their second innings after slipping to 181 for 5. There is just the pair of VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni left for India to put up any serious fight.
Muttiah Muralitharan bagged his 67th five-wicket haul to wrap up the Indian first innings just after lunch. Overnight batsman Virender Sehwag was the top scorer with 109 (from 118 balls with 19 fours and a six). Sehwag's was the first wicket to fall today when his attempted upper cut was caught at first slip. Sri Lanka found some resistance against them through the pair of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni who counter attacked them. But a magic delivery from Muralitharan broke a promising stand of 74. Dhoni was batting well for his 33 before getting outclassed by the legend. Yuvraj scored an entertaining 52 from 64 balls before he nervously edged a Murali off break to slip. India was bowled out for 276 with their innings lasting only 65 overs. Muralitharan was the destroyer with 5 for 63 in 17 overs.
India with a heavy first innings deficit of 244 runs had to follow on and they lost Gambhir again in the first over to Malinga. Sehwag was lucky to get away from a terrific return catch from Malinga because of a noball but the opener didn't last long. He fell in the 11th over once again to a failed upper cut off Chanaka Welegedera who dismissed him in a similar fashion only a few hours back. Sehwag made 31 before getting brilliantly caught by a flying Mahela Jayawardene at gully.
With India at 42 for 2, the stage was set for the pair of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar to spoil the Lankan party. They did that for quite some time before Dravid (44 from 152 balls) unluckily flicked a Malinga inswinger straight to backward squareleg to end a 119-run stand for the 3rd wicket. Tendulkar perished when batting well on 84 (from 142 balls with 11 fours and a six) after missing a pacy full toss which hit his back pad to leave India back in trouble at 172 for 4. Muralitharan finished the day by taking his 798th Test wicket when Yuvraj for the second time in the day edged his off break to slip.
Day 3 Report
India finished a surprisingly long day's cricket at Galle on a shaky 140 for 3 in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 520 for 8 declared. Despite reducing Sri Lanka to 344 for 6, India was kept on the field chasing leather until Tea. Rangana Herath, coming in at no.8 helped himself to an unbeaten 80 (from 93 balls with 10 fours and a six) while Lasith Malinga at no.9 cracked a strokeful 64 (from 75 balls with 9 fours and 2 sixes). Together they put on 115 runs for the eight wicket before Malinga was bounced out by debutant Mithun. It was a good day for Ishant Sharma (3 for 145) and Abhimanyu Mithun (4 for 105) with both the quicks often going past the outside edge.
The visitors batting after Tea lost Gautam Gambhir in the second ball of the innings itself when Malinga got one to swing back to hit the pads plumb infront. After Gambhir's duck, Rahul Dravid walked in to ease the pressure on India along with Sehwag. The pair put on 66 for the 2nd wicket before a mad run out cut short Dravid's innings to 18. It was Sehwag's fault in calling for an ambitious second run after a slight misfielding from Malinga at mid off. Sri Lanka went onto put India on the mat for the day when Sachin Tendulkar wrongly chose an overpitched delivery to sweep Muralitharan. Tendulkar missed his shot to get out lbw leaving India to 101 for 3. Sehwag (85* from 98 balls with 14 fours and a six) saw through India safely along with VVS Laxman (18* from 31 balls) in the next 10 overs or so. India finished Day 3 at 140 for 3 in 29.3 overs before bad light stopped play.
Day 2 Report
Play has been abandoned on the Second Day of the First Test at Galle between Sri Lanka and India with rain showing no mercy on an already wet ground. Not a single ball was possible and the players kept indoors. With just 68 overs of cricket in two days, its highly unlikely that there will be any result in this match. Muttiah Muralitharan will be a disappointed as he is running out of time in taking the 8 wickets to get to the magical figure of 800 Test Scalps.
Day 2 - Morning Session Report
Overnight storms have caused a massive delay on the second day's play of the first Test at Galle. According to the curator, play is likely to start only after lunch that is after 12:00 PM local time. Although its not raining this morning, enough damage was done with plenty of water on the covers along with some underneath leaking. While India would appreciate all this time loss because of its ordinary bowling attack which included an injured Harbhajan Singh, Sri Lanka who are in a commanding position at 256 for 2 will be feeling disappointed. The match could end up a draw if weather continues to be like this, only the 68 overs were possible yesterday while an entire session is being wiped off today.
Day 1 - Final Session Report
Bad light and rain rescued India from a serious leather hunt in the final session and only 10 overs were possible before all the big covers got onto the ground. There were two significant events during these 10 overs - first one being Paranavitana registering his maiden Test hundred and the second one being Kumar Sangakkara falling to a long hop from Sehwag to depart on 103 (from 145 balls with 12 fours). The Lankan Skipper had put up 181 for the second wicket with Paranavitana.
At Stumps on Day 1, Sri Lanka are 256 for 2 with Paranavitana unbeaten on 110 (from 229 balls with 12 fours) along with former Skipper Mahela Jayawardene who is on 8 (from 14 balls). The biggest worry for India is that Harbhajan Singh is not looking fit enough to stay on the field for too long! Play will start 30 minutes early on the second day to make up for the time loss.
Sangakkara's fall of wicket : It was a terrible long hop which could have been pulled out of the ground for a six anywhere but the centurion Sangakkara running out of luck picked up the lone fielder in the deep Tendulkar. And he is a safe fielder anywhere. Sehwag and India are really lucky to get this wicket with such a bad ball.
Day 1 - Afternoon Session Report
It was all Sri Lanka in the extended afternoon session at Galle with India going back to the dressing room without any breakthroughs. In the 38 overs bowled in this session, the hosts 137 runs with Kumar Sangakkara completing his 22nd Test hundred while Tharanga Paranavitana approaching a maiden Test hundred. The opener is five runs short of that and Sangakkara had reached three figures just prior to the break. Barring a few half chances, there was nothing happening as far as the bowlers were concerned though Sangakkara was put down by Dhoni off a quick bottom edge in Sehwag's bowling.
Sri Lanka are on top at 228 for 1 in just 58 overs and its only going to be even more difficult for India in the remaining part of the day's play.
Day 1 - Morning Session Report
Sri Lanka piled up 91 on the board in 20 overs losing Tillakaratne Dilshan in the first session of Day 1 at Galle. The other opener Tharanga Paranavitana has looked absolutely solid unlike his flashy partner Dilshan and has got to 35 from 59 balls with half a dozen boundaries. Giving him company is the Sri Lankan Skipper - Kumar Sangakkara who is on 25 from 39 balls.
Dilshan's fall of wicket : Well Abhimanyu Mithun had picked up his maiden test wicket in the 11th over when Dilshan gloved his attempted hook shot to MS Dhoni down the legside to fall for 25 in an opening stand of 55. It was the first ball of a new spell for Mithun replacing Ishant just after drinks and his luck has changed with the change in ends. Mithun really put in some energy into that short rising delivery aimed at the body and Dilshan’s shot was a slightly late reaction.
Toss and Teams
Sri Lanka have won the toss and elected to bat first in the 1st Test at Galle against India. The match will be off to a delayed start by 30 minutes due to a wet outfield caused by the persistent drizzle in the last few days. The coin used for the toss has an image of Muralitharan paying tribute for his great career which is ending with this match. Abhimanyu Mithun gets to make his Test Debut, picked ahead of Munaf Patel to partner Ishant Sharma in the pace department. Pragyan Ojha will be the second spinner along with Harbhajan Singh. For Sri Lanka, Malinga and left armer Chanaka Welegedera along with Angelo Mathews would be taking care of pace while spin will be taken care by Muralitharan and Rangana Herath.
Pitch Report : It's certainly a bat first pitch and could take turn only in the last couple of days of the match though there will be some moisture for few minutes after this delayed start. There is a bit of grass to hold up all the cracks and it could be the overhead conditions that could help the swing bowlers. Having said that, Kumar Sangakkara reckons that anything over 300 is a good total! So not quite the batsmen friendly track!
Sri Lanka : Tharanga Paranavitana, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (C), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene (WK), Rangana Herath, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chanaka Welegedara, Lasith Malinga
India : Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Abhimanyu Mithun