Sangakkara, Tharanga slam tons to put Lanka on top

Updated: 18 July 2010 13:21 IST

Tharanga Paranavitana and skipper Kumar Sangakkara hit centuries as Sri Lanka dominated the rain-hit opening day of the first Test against India on Sunday.

Sangakkara, Tharanga slam tons to put Lanka on top

Galle:

Captain Kumar Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana struck centuries as Sri Lanka laid the foundation for a mammoth first innings total in the first Test against a lacklustre India here on Sunday.

Sangakkara (103) notched up his 22nd century while Paranavitana (110 batting) scored his maiden ton as the hosts exposed India's toothless bowling attack to pile up a comfortable 256 for two at close on a rain-truncated opening day.

Electing to bat, the Sri Lankan batsmen capitalised on easy batting conditions at the Galle International Stadium to take control of the match which is star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan's swansong Test.

Paranavitana and Mahela Jayawardene (8) were at the crease when play was called off shortly after the tea break because of rain.

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It turned out to be a miserable day for the Indians with a depleted bowling attack struggling to make any impact on the Sri Lankan batsmen who scored at a brisk pace. The hosts could have been in a far more comfortable position had bad light and rain not deprived them off 21 overs during the day.

Sangakkara and Paranavitana captalised on a solid start of 91 for one at lunch and the duo treated the hapless Indian bowling attack with disdain by sharing 181 runs for the second wicket in exactly 51 overs to take the game away from the visitors.

India removed Sangakkara early in the final session, holing out to Sachin Tendulkar off part-timer Virender Sehwag at Sri Lankan score of 236 for two but Jayawardene and Paranavitana ensured that they did not lose any more wickets.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (25) was the only Sri Lankan batsman who fell in the morning session to Abhimanyu Mithun, his first Test scalp.

Sangaakkara's 103 came from 145 balls with the help of 12 fours and it was his fourth century against India. He also went past West Indian Gordon Gneenidge and Englishman Colin Cowdrey to become the 23rd most prolific batsman.

The Indian attack without strike bowler Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth due to injuries, were at the receiving end of a solid Sri Lankan batting display and went wicketless in the whole of the extended second session. They conceded 137 runs in 38 overs bowled in the session.

To compound the matters for India, their most experienced bowler Harbhajan Singh suffered from after effects of a bout of flu and apparently a hamstring problem. He went off the field mid-way into the post-lunch session but returned after about 20 minutes.

Sangakkara and Paranavitana, who were on 25 and 35 at lunch break, played sensible innings as they mixed caution with aggression to deny any success to the Indians.

Sangakkara, the more aggressive of the two, was in fine touch punishing the Indian bowlers whenever they erred in line and length.

The Sri Lankan captain was dropped when on 65 off part-timer Virender Sehwag, who was introduced midway in the second session, with his counterpart and wicket-keeper Dhoni failing to pouch an edge.

Opener Paranavitana was more circumspect initially waiting for bad balls but he opened up after reaching his fifty, fifth in 11 Tests.

India also missed a half chance to remove Paranavitana when on 51 with a forward diving Yuvraj failing to reach the ball after the Sri Lankan opener cut uppishly a Sehwag delivery.

Those couple of chances were all the Indians had as the bowlers lacked penetration and consistency to trouble the Sri Lankans.

Paranavitana went on to score his best Test score in his 11th match, his earlier best being 73 against Pakistan in Colombo last year.

Harbhajan got the drift and a bit of turn in both the sessions but that was not enough to get any wicket while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha was also expensive though he extracted some turn.

Pacer Ishant Sharma gave away just two runs in his first two overs of the second session before conceding 19 in his next two and his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni took him off.

Fielding one of the weakest bowling attacks in a long time, luck also did not favour India as Dhoni lost the toss after the start of the match was delayed for 30 minutes due to wet outfield.

With the depleted Indian bowlers failing to take the advantage of the moisture after heavy overnight rains, the Sri Lankan openers Paranavitana and Dilshan were off to a quick start, sharing 55 runs for the first wicket in 11 overs.

The Sri Lankan duo targeted Ishant, who bled 41 runs in his five overs in the morning, as Paranavitana struck him for a four in the first ball of the innings and then repeated it with another boundary in the opening over.

Ishant was again punished for another couple of fours in his second over by Paranavitana. Dilshan also joined the party with five fours off Ishant in two overs.

Mithun made an impressive start in his debut Test conceding 41 runs from his 12 overs and with the wicket of dangerous Dilshan, his maiden Test scalp.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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