India continue to dominate second Test
by Jinu Sabastian
DateLine: 25th November 2009
It was another day of domination by the Indian side as they put the Lankan team under pressure first by scoring big in their first innings and then taking a wicket before the close of play. Sri Lanka fought back briefly picking up four wickets cheaply just after tea but that was all that Sri Lanka could cheer about. Harbhajan Singh and Ojha were able to get some turn of the wicket but Sangakkara and Paranavitana were able to negotiate the spinners and take Sri Lanka to safely.
Earlier in the day with India looking to extend the domination over Sri Lanka suffered an early jolt as Mendis managed to prize out Tendulkar. Tendulkar and Dravid added 94 for the third wicket with the latter dominating the stand with some excellent shots to all parts of the ground. Tendulkar didn't hit a single boundary till his 87th delivery, when he danced down the track to lift Mendis over long-off for a maximum but a couple of balls later he was dismissed trying to repeat the shot but couldn't clear mid-off. Laxman joined Dravid and the two just kept milking the bowling by tapping the balls into the gaps.
Dravid seemed impossible to be dismissed, and when his end came, it was bizarre. Laxman hit one hard back at the bowler Rangana Herath who spilled the catch but palmed it onto the stumps to find Dravid out of his crease. Laxman was joined at the crease by Yuvraj and the southpaw was in a belligerent mood as he lofted Mendis and Murali for two massive sixes and essayed some delicate late cuts. Laxman too played some sumptuous drives down the ground and used his supple wrists to guide the ball past midwicket to cause some serious problems in the Lankan camp. The elegant right-hander crossed his 41st Test half century and was looking set for more. Yuvraj too crossed his fifty and the Sri Lankan team thought that it was going to be a long day.
But against the run of play Laxman fell as he tried to up the ante by trying to lift Herath over mid-off but failing in the process only managing to give a simple catch to Dilshan at mid-off. Then the left-arm spinner proceeded to remove skipper Dhoni and Harbhajan with a couple of beautifully bowled 'carom' balls just before the tea break to give some relief to the Lankan camp. The Indians continued to bat after the tea break looking for some quick runs but Herath and Mendis combined to remove the remaining the batsmen as India folded up for 642.
Sri Lanka in reply got off the worst possible start as they lost Dilshan off the first ball of the match. Zaheer bowled a very loose ball which was heading down the leg-side but Dilshan tried to turn it down the leg-side got the leading edge which was taken by debutant Ojha at mid-on. Sreesanth returning to the Indian side after more than one year found some late movement to trouble the two left-handers but Sangakkara used his feet and experience to negate the swing generated by the medium pacer. The spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha bowled well in tandem to keep the batsmen on guard as they constantly troubled the batsmen with some excellent bowling. Sangakkara and Paranavitana played with extreme caution as they put on 66 in 23.5 overs to take Sri Lanka to stumps with no further damage.