Sehwag leads India's reply
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 20th July 2010
Sri Lanka once again asserted their dominance over the Test as they took control. India barring the first session were playing the catch up game for most part of the Test. Sri Lanka in their first innings made 520 for 8 declared while India in reply made 140 for 3 before bad light called off play.
In the morning session the Indian pacers, Mithun and Ishant Sharma, helped India to roar back into the contest with pace bowling of the highest quality. Ishant Sharma struck first as he removed overnight batsman Paranavitana with an excellent off-cutter while Mithun removed Samaraweera for a duck. The battle between Ishant Sharma and Jayawardene was worth watching as it was a contest of the highest order. Ishant armed with the new ball got the ball to jag around wickedly at a good pace while Jayawardene who was at the crease for long suddenly began to grope. A vicious leg-cutter left Jayawardene poking at thin air while a series of off-cutters cut the batsman into half on more than one occasion. Finally the lanky paceman trapped the former skipper leg before. Angelo Mathews counterattacked beautifully before he was caught at second slip minutes before lunch.
Just when the visitors thought that they could wrap up the Lankan innings they were wrong. The lower order led by Rangana Herath took the attack to the Indians who were left stunned. First the keeper batsman Prasanna Jayawardene began to the counterattack and the cue was taken by Herath who launched into the Indian bowlers, pace and spin alike. The runs came at a fast clip and once Jayawardene got dismissed Malinga joined in the fun. Sri Lanka declared at tea when the score was on 520 for 8.
Soon after tea the Indian innings began and the visitors were jolted soon. Gambhir was trapped leg before by a fuller length delivery from Malinga in the very first over. Sehwag and David were forced to be cautious and the strategy was simple. Against the pace of Malinga they were watchful while against the lesser pace of Welegadera the pair flourished. The duo steadied the Indian ship beautifully and just when it seemed that they would take control a careless bi of running between the wickets send Dravid back to the pavilion.
Sehwag mixed caution with aggression excellently as and he took the Lankan attack by the scruff of the neck. He took a liking to the spin of Herath and Muralitharan as the the belligerent right-hander found the fence repeatedly and even deposited Murali for a huge six. Muralitharan got the big fish as he removed Tendulkar who missed his sweep and was trapped leg-before. Sehwag and VVS Laxman then survived some anxious moments before bad light stopped play for the day.