Sri Lanka hand India an embarrassing loss

With the help of a splendid bowling performance by Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka beat India by an innings and 239 runs in Colombo.

updated: July 30, 2008 16:24 IST
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New Delhi:

After India's dismal show in the first Test in Colombo, all debate over who is a bigger threat between Muralitharan and Mendis can be put to rest as the senior pro did the maximum damage picking eleven wickets with enough support from the debutant spinner Mendis, who picked eight wickets to beat India by an innings and 239 runs.

This spin duo proved to be fatal for Indians, who failed to show any resistance and went down without any application. After being bundled for 223 runs in the first innings, Indians were all out for 138 runs in the second innings at the Sinhalese Sports Complex in Colombo.

They resumed batting with their overnight score of 159/6 on the fourth day and lost their last four wickets for just 64 runs in the first innings. VVS Laxman was the highest scorer for India as he made 56. Laxman along with Ishant Sharma put up 35 runs for the last wicket. But clearly it was spin that did India in the first innings, with Muttiah Muralitharan picking up 5 wickets and debutant Ajantha Mendis picking up 4.

India were asked to follow on by Sri Lanka and their performance deteriorated further with the much famed batting line-up collapsing again. Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly all failed to live up to their reputation. Gambhir played fighting knocks but he too failed to convert the starts into big innings.

Muttiah Muralitharan kept all batsmen in check and claimed the wickets of Sehwag (13), Gambhir (43), Tendulkar (12), Ganguly (4), Karthik (0) and Kumble in the second innings. Karthik fell as his tenth victim of the match. He was adjudged as the 'Man of the Match'.

Mendis also deceived and picked the wickets of VVS Laxman (21), Rahul Dravid (10), Zaheer Khan (3) and Harbhajan Singh (15).

Earlier, electing to bat first in the rain-interrupted match, Sri Lanka made 600 runs with the help of four centuries from Malinda Warnapura, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera and Tillakratne Dilshan and declared their innings.

Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis took it from there and made survival a tedious task for Indians. The spin twin gave a nightmarish start to India's Lankan expedition. They have not won a Test series in Sri Lanka in the last fifteen years and going by their performance in this match, the task doesn't look any easier.