India has got off to a terrific start in the second Test at Green Park in Kanpur with both the opening batsmen remaining unseparated on a difficult batting pitch. Sehwag and Gambhir have not only survived the first session but have also gone on to dent the confidence of the Sri Lankan spin trio. India has got to a solid platform of 131 for 0 in 26 overs by lunch on Day 1.
Virender Sehwag has raced away to 70 from 73 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes. Gautam Gambhir is looking very confident with 59 from 84 balls with 7 fours. India’s start would have been horrible had wicket keeper Prasanna Jayawardene let Mahela Jayawardene take a sitter of a catch in the fourth ball of the match offered by Sehwag. It was a nice juicy pitched up outswinger from Welegedara and Sehwag played a rank bad shot, chasing that one away from his body to get a thick edge. Prasanna, the keeper dived across to his right and failed to latch onto the catch and in the process also distracted Mahela at first slip who would have easily taken that.
Sehwag was smart enough to bide his time after getting dropped and was keen on staying there in the middle. It was Gautam Gambhir who took the bulk of the strike initially and India’s momentum came when Rangana Herath went for three boundaries struck by the left hander in his first over. One of those boundaries was a step out lofted shot over mid on from Gambhir. Sehwag got going once he got a couple of straight drives past Angelo Mathews and there was no looking back after that. Muralitharan and Mendis were treated roughly by Sehwag.
Mendis seems to be low on confidence as he bowled one full toss which got heaved for a six followed up by a long hop that was pulled for a one bounce boundary by Sehwag. In the last over before lunch, Sehwag had the courage to loft Mendis over the head of the long on fielder for a six! Mendis has been taken for 42 runs in his 5 overs! Herath has gone for 14 runs in his only over and Murali has been taken for 17 in his 3 overs.
The pitch has been very slow and most of the balls are staying low. Strokemaking has been very difficult and one needs to spend plenty of time in the middle to get the right kind of timing to their shots. Runs are going to be a premium on this wicket and it seems batsmen are going to struggle as the match progresses.