Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman have batted together for 24 overs to see India safely through for Tea with just the loss of Gautam Gambhir. India have moved onto 341 for 4 and most importantly are into a lead now of 7 runs. It is now a matter of batting out the next 16 overs in a controlled manner before the match can be called off at the start of the last hour.
The afternoon session did not start the way India wanted as Gautam Gambhir did a Sehwag by going for a needless big shot at a stage when his team was just looking to play out safely. Gambhir stepped out to Herath and was beaten in the air but he still went with his lofted shot and could only miscue it to mid off. The left hander otherwise did a great job to score his 114 (from 230 balls with 13 fours); Gambhir’s partnership with Tendulkar had lasted 24 overs.
Although Gambhir fell in the 6th over of the session, Sri Lanka couldn’t make much of the opening it got as Laxman is one of the best players of spin bowling. Sachin Tendulkar went into a shell slightly but was always quite secured in his defence in the company of VVS Laxman. Both Herath and Murali were kept waiting for the mistakes to happen but in vain. Sri Lanka took the second new ball as well which only provided a bit of relief for the two batsmen as the medium pacers did not pose any problems at all.
Sachin Tendulkar has worked his way to a crucial 54th Test fifty and is unbeaten on 55 from 143 balls (with 6 fours) at the close of this post lunch session. Laxman has batted out 78 balls to score 28. Muttiah Muralitharan is yet to pick up a single wicket in this innings! For the record, India has collected 85 runs in 30 overs at the loss of one wicket in this afternoon session.