Lankan batting dominates Day 2
by Rohit Sakunia

Scorecard:India v Sri Lanka
Player:TT Samaraweera, Z Khan, TM Dilshan
Event:Sri Lanka in India 2009/10

DateLine: 17th November 2009


If the first day belonged to the Indians, the Lankans didn't leave any stone unturned to make Day 2 their own. First the bowlers picked up the remaining four host wickets without giving too many runs and then the Lankan batting did what the Indian batting did so well yesterday. Tillakratne Dilshan was the star for the tourists as the right-hander smacked a wonderful 100 and all others chipped in with valuable contributions to place Sri Lanka in a decent position at the end of Day 2 of the first Test.


Earlier at the start Chanaka Welegedara got the big wicket of Dravid to being the proceedings well for the visitors. Though Harbhajan and Zaheer did bat for a while but not for a moment could the duo play as aggressively as is associated with them. Frustration of not getting many boundaries got on the head of Zaheer Khan and an arm ball from Rangana Herath, breaking in sharply after pitching, found Zaheer in front of his wickets.


It was Harbhajan's turn to walk back to the dressing room then. His second failed attempt to reverse-sweep Muttiah Muralitharan became his nemesis. In the same over, Murali beat Ishant Sharma with a doosra and Prasanna Jayawardene ended the innings with a quick stumping.


It was all Tillekratne Dilshan after this as the right-hander capitalised on the good bowling start and belted boundaries on a track which seemed perfect for his style of batting. The knock by him wasn't an all slam bang and didn't even had one dilscoop but still the batsman played with a strike rate of 80 odd. No bad deliveries were spared and the Indian bowling provided him loads of bad ones on a flat deck.


While bowling the Indians started off with a defensive mindset from the very outset against Dilshan. MS Dhoni gave Zaheer Khan a deep point, a deep fine leg and a deep square leg in the first over. Expectedly Zaheer started with three back-to-back bouncers, finding Dilshan's body with one of them. Dilshan though wasn't rattled and was set for a biggie. His opening partner Tharanga Paranavitana was the one who had maximum strike during a 74-run first-wicket partnership. The left-hander was troubled by both the seamers but he also kept hitting the loose ones for boundaries. Finally a relentless spell of three beautiful deliveries by Ishant found his wicket as the third one took the edge and with it came the first wicket.


Dilshan, at the other end, looked hardly in any discomfort. The knock was a mix of patience and urgency and even though a lot of his good hits stuck the hands of fielders he hardly looked frustrated. His confidence had an immediate impact and the Indian skipper had to resort to an in-and-out field because of the ease with which he found boundaries.


Skipper Kumar Sangakkara, came in at the fall of Paranavitana. He got into his stride easily as he was thrown in many a loose deliveries and he duly obliged by cutting the short and wide ones. After the tea interval a loose delivery outside the off-stump brought up the three-figure mark for Dilshan as he cut it square for four.


The Indian strategy though changed after the tea break. Both Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh started to bowl away from the batsman and Dilshan seemingly started to look edgy because of not finding too many to hit. The defensive ploy worked as Zaheer dropped one short, way outside off and Dilshan in trying to get under it could only touch it by the shoulder of the bat. The ball went high and settled in Dravid's palms who took it coming in from gully. In Zaheer's next over, Sangakkara became victim to another short delivery, hooking and only finding Sachin Tendulkar at fine-leg.


The two wickets brought a spring back in the strides of the Indians. The run-rate came under control and for a brief while the game turned slow. Thilan Samaraweera and Mahela Jayawardene though slowly and steadily got in their grooves and once the right-handed duo had their eyes in, runs again started to come on the good track. Amit Mishra came under Samaraweera's scanner as the right-hander time and again jumped down the track and more often then not succeeded in getting his timing right against the leggie.


The duo finished unbeaten, stiching 81 runs between them and looked pretty comfortable against all bowlers which augurs well for the touring team. India on the other hand will have to pick up early wickets tomorrow to claw their way back in the contest.


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