You are here: Home » Cricket India » SL fightback after Sehwag’s great century

SL fightback after Sehwag’s great century

Related Links : Link to 2nd Test Scorecard | Virender Sehwag | Ajantha Mendis | Chaminda Vaas | India’s Tour of Sri Lanka 2008

Advantage was squandered significantly by a resurgent India in the second test at Galle. The trio of Rahul, Sachin and Sourav spoilt what was a dream day for Indian Cricket thanks to a stupendous innings from Virender Sehwag. However, India would be thanking their stars as their hero – Virender Sehwag is still unbeaten and there is enough hope that they can still post a big first innings total. India from a position of dominance at 167 for 0 slipped to 178 for 4 in the space of 25 deliveries. At stumps on the opening day, there has been a bit of recovery with the scoring moving onto 214 for 4 with Sehwag very much unbeaten!

Incredibly just the 44.3 overs were possible on the first day of the second test as rain took off the entire middle session and gave space for just the 15.3 overs in the evening. That tiny phase was just enough for the match to turn on its head as Sri Lanka fought back tremendously through the Mystery Spinner – Ajantha Mendis and the reverse swinging deliveries from Chaminda Vaas. India had earlier won the toss and as expected, elected to bat first on a dry wicket which already had plenty of wide cracks. Both sides remained unchanged. The opening batsmen – Gambhir and Sehwag were tested by a lovely new ball spell from medium pacers Kulasekara and Vaas. The duo managed to survive that luckily with even a straightforward catch going down in the slip cordon. Gambhir had got a healthy edge that was flying straight into the hands of Sangakkara, but the wicket keeper distracted his vision by diving infront of him! There was another big moment in the morning when Sehwag went for the big sweep off Mendis and the ball went no where but into the wicket keeper’s gloves with the batsman not able to connect the shot. A review was asked by the Sri Lankans after Sehwag was initially given not out. The replays were inconclusive as it appeared sometimes that Sehwag got a bit of glove and sometimes, it looked there was no glove or bat involved. Sehwag was eventually given not out and there was no looking back after that.

Virender Sehwag then took the bull by its horns as he took danger man Ajantha Mendis to the cleaners. He danced down the track aggressively, came close to the pitch of the ball sensibly and hoisted Mendis’ leg cutter out of widish long on for a six. Next he waited on the backfoot to a pitched up wrong one and played a smashing cut shot for a boundary out of nowhere! India got in control of both Mendis and Murali and of course of their first innings as the opening stand was getting very big. India were at 151 for no loss in just 29 overs at lunch with Sehwag on 91 from 82 balls (14 fours and a six) and Gambhir smoothly getting to 50 with 7 fours. The players then had a long lunch break and that combined with a tea break as well with rain hitting the fortified city of Galle. That broke the momentum of India and it looked unlikely that there would be any play at all in the day.

The groundstaff had other ideas though and their hard work made play possible in what was going to be disastrous session for the visitors. In the 32nd over, Gautam Gambhir completely misread a googly from Mendis and got trapped infront of the stumps. The Umpire gave that as out and the batsman asked for a review which proved to be unsuccessful. Gambhir (56 from 103 balls with 8 fours) had to walk back with India at 167 for 1. In his next over, Mendis forced a bat pad edge from Dravid which was taken in the second attempt by the short leg fielder. No body on the ground were unhappy with the umpire’s decision of giving that as out. But replays showed that the ball had deflected off the fielder’s shoulder and hit him on his helmet and only after another deflection that he could complete the catch. Law 32 (Caught), section 3 (Fair Catch) was supposed to come into picture but the people who mattered were caught unawares. The law states that ‘it is not a fair catch if the ball has touched a protective helmet worn by a fielder, although the ball remains in play.’

Dravid departed after a 7-ball stay in the middle and he soon got enough company in the dressing room very soon thanks to the cheap dismissals of Tendulkar (3-ball stay) and Ganguly (duck out). First it was Tendulkar getting wrapped up on the pads infront of the stumps by a reversing delivery from Vaas. In the same over, Ganguly had to play at a delivery that was angling in, but only swinging away late to find an outside edge. The wicket keeper made up for his previous mistake with a nice diving catch. While those two were great deliveries from Vaas, it was bad cricket from Tendulkar and Ganguly in not anticipating any threat from Chaminda Vaas!

India got reduced to 178 for 4 and before any further damage could take place, Sehwag crushed Sri Lanka’s spirit with his daring strokeplay. Laxman gave him good company after surviving an lbw review to ensure safety for India at stumps on Day 1. Sehwag was on 128 in 122 balls with 19 fours and 2 sixes and Laxman on 13 from 28 balls with a four. Earlier Sehwag kept his tradition of getting to his century in style. This time he smashed Vaas for a six over long on to follow up with an on-the-rise off drive a couple of deliveries later to reach his 15th century. Sehwag has set the tone for the rest of the batsmen in tackling Mendis, who finished the day with 2 for 74 in 14 overs while Murali went wicketless giving away 38 runs in 8.3 overs.