Gambhir, Tendulkar help India to salvage draw
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 20th November 2009
A match that had Lankan victory written all over it finally ended in a tame draw as first Gambhir and then Tendulkar played defiant innings to salvage a hard fought draw for the Indians. Muralitharan and Herath were expected to play a key role in securing a rare win for the Lankans on the Indian soil but the Indian batsmen were upto the task as they blunted the Lankan bowling attack successfully.
The day began with the overnight pair, Mishra and Gambhir, looking to bat out time rather than go for the runs as they patiently left alone many deliveries outside the off stump while showing the full face of the bat to the ones that were aimed at their stumps. The Lankan bowling attack was hampered to some extent as Prasad had done some damage to his hamstring and that prevented him from bowling his overs. The visitors could have struck early when Mishra edged one from Welegadera to the slips where Dilshan dropped a sharp chance. Nine overs later, Mishra was dismissed when Dilshan took a superb reflex catch at leg-gully but crucially for India Mishra had eaten into some valuable time.
Gambhir was joined by Tendulkar and slowly the score began to move. Gambhir opened up as he collected boundaries on either side of the wicket while Tendulkar mixed caution with aggression. Gambhir slowly got to his seventh Test century and looked set for a long haul but he was dismissed when he tried to loft Herath over mid off and only succeeded in chipping it to Prasad at mid-off to give some hope in the Lankan camp.
But Laxman and Tendulkar ensured that no collapse occurred as the pair kept their head to steer India to safety. The only interest in the match remained as to whether Tendulkar will get to his 43rd century and he did cross the landmark to celebrate his 20 years in international cricket.