Harbhajan puts India back in the hunt

Harbhajan Singh's 4-wicket haul in the last session on Day 2 of Galle Test has put India in a strong position.

updated: August 05, 2008 10:52 IST
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New Delhi:

Harbhajan Singh's 4-wicket haul in the last session on Day 2 of Galle Test has put India in a strong position. Sri Lanka were 215 for 5 at stumps in reply to India's total of 329.

In the post-lunch session Sri Lanka were in the driver's seat as Kumar Sangakkara and Malinda Warnapura made a 133-run partnership for the second wicket. Kumble introduced Harbhajan in the post-tea session and the move paid straighaway.

Bhajji succeeded in breaking the partnership as Warnapura (66) sliced his delivery to the point region only to find Gautam Gambhir under it. Sangakkara perished in his next over for 68 runs as the offie took a return catch to send him back.

Thilan Samaraweera (14) joined skipper Mahela Jayawardene (46*) and added 48 runs for the third wicket before Bhajji trapped him in front of the wicket. New man Dilshan fell in the same over without scoring as Gambhir took a sharp catch at the short-leg.

Defending a total of 329 runs, Indian pacer Zaheer Khan gave India the first breakthrough as he dismissed MG Vandort in his first over. Dravid caught him at the third slip for four runs.

Earlier, electing to bat first, Indian batsmen failed to fire with Virender Sehwag making an exception. Sehwag fought a lone battle with the bat against Sri Lanka as he propelled India to a respectable total with an unbeaten knock of 201.

He ran out of partners after a 167-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir for the first wicket. But that did not deter him from playing his shots as he slammed 201 runs with the help of 22 fours and 4 sixes.

It was the tenth consecutive occasion for him when he crossed the 150-run mark after scoring a century. In the process, he also completed his 5000 Test runs.

Sehwag also added 100 runs with VVS Laxman for the fifth wicket but Mendis broke the partnership. Laxman made 39 runs before Samaraweera caught him at the mid-wicket. Dinesh Karthik who replaced Laxman, failed yet again and went back adding just seven runs to India's score as he was foxed by Mendis' carrom ball to be given LBW out.

After Karthik's wicket, none of the tail-enders tried to survive for long as last four wickets fell adding just 12 runs. Anil Kumble's defence was tested by Muralitharan and he finally perished as wicketkeeper Prasantha Jayawardene stumped him for 4 runs. Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan too failed to show any resistance to Mendis and Murali respectively. Ishant Sharma stood only till Sehwag reached his double hundred and departed as Ajantha's sixth victim.

Full report: Day 1