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Sri Lanka start well after India’s 426

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Sri Lanka have started their first innings well at 37 for no loss in 8 overs in reply to India’s 426. Tillakaratne Dilshan has spanked two cover drives on the up to score 18 and his opening partner Paranavitana has also got the same amount of runs although he has been a bit lucky to get away from a couple of wicket taking balls.

The morning session belonged to the Sri Lankans as they wrapped up the Indian innings taking the remaining four wickets in less than 15 overs. India added up 45 runs which was still precious enough after the early fall of Rahul Dravid. Resuming on an overnight score of 177, Dravid was castled by an inswinger from Chanaka Welegedara which forced an inside edge onto the stumps. Dravid did not add any runs to his 177 and was out in the 3rd over of the morning.

Harbhajan Singh took no time in recovering from losing his senior partner and he got going in the company of Zaheer Khan. India eased past the 400-run mark and it needed a bad Umpiring decision to break this 8th wicket partnership. Zaheer Khan had gone back to a full length ball from Herath which drifted in and struck him low on the pad but certainly was sliding down leg as well. Umpire Harper erred in his decision to send back Zaheer and put an end to a fighting stand that put on 25 runs for the 8th wicket.

Harbhajan soon got out as well in the 105th over and he paid penalty for playing a poor reverse sweep off Muralitharan to get bowled. Harbhajan contributed 22. Muralitharan in combination with wicket keeper Prasanna Jayawardene in the same over to take the last wicket. Ishant Sharma was dragged out of the crease by a doosra which turned away to beat the bat and Prasanna showed some quick glovework. Murali finished with figures of 3 for 97 in 25.5 overs and Welegedera had a good outing with four top order wickets for his swing bowling. India were bowled out for 426 which is a dramatic fightback considering that they were at 32 for 4 about 24 hours back.

Zaheer Khan gave a fiery opening for India with the ball by unsettling Dilshan with his short deliveries. The same bowler got the left handed Paranavitana beaten just around the off stump with a magic delivery. At the other end, Ishant Sharma sprayed the ball around and looked unimpressive except for one rising ball that got the left hander flashing one dangerously through gully. Dilshan so far has looked very aggressive and has even stepped out and lofted Harbhajan Singh in the penultimate over before the lunch break.

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