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Zaheer’s double strike slows down Sri Lanka’s charge

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Zaheer Khan’s two well directed bouncers halted a dangerous Sri Lankan charge towards India’s 426. The Lankans though recovered from Zaheer’s blows and at stumps on the second day are looking pretty at 275 for 3. The solid batting pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Thilana Samaraweera is holding the fort for them with an unbeaten partnership of 81. Things would have been really worse for India had Zaheer not got rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Well the final session needed India to slow the run rate of Sri Lanka which was almost at 5.00 runs per over. The only way they could do that was by bowling dot balls but the ultimate thing was to get rid of Dilshan who resumed the session on 88. Dilshan got to his glory scoring his 10th Test hundred with a square cut and after a while lost his concentration to lose his wicket. MS Dhoni’s bowling change of replacing Ishant Sharma with Zaheer Khan in the 44th over worked straightaway as Dilshan miscued a pull shot which was fetched from way outside off. Zaheer had enough venom in that ball and it was a miscued hit caught by Dravid rushing in from point. Dilshan departed after striking 112 from just 133 balls (with 12 fours) and had put on 115 runs for the second wicket with Sangakkara.

Zaheer struck again for India and this time got Sangakkara napping to a short ball. Sangakkara was taken by surprise by the length and had no time for ducking under that and instead went for a hook shot. It was a top edge that flew towards fine leg and was well caught by Sachin Tendulkar just infront of the boundary rope. Sangakkara was upset with his moment of madness and departed at a personal score of 31 (from 85 balls with 3 fours).

Sri Lanka were now in trouble at 194 for 3 in the 46th over. The Indian team was charged up after the two wickets and Harbhajan Singh got back to his own as well. The off spinner gave plenty of air and started to extract good turn and bounce. Fortunately for Sri Lanka, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera battled it out with the best of their techniques and after a few quite overs got their eye in. MS Dhoni had to resort to spin at both ends because of the slow over rate. Sri Lanka nicely came back into the game again and at the close of play have reduced the deficit to 151 with 7 wickets intact. Mahela is batting well on 36 from 70 balls (with 2 fours and a six) and Samaraweera has dominated the partnership with his 45 (from 86 balls with 6 fours). Sri Lanka finished the day at 275 for 3 in 70 overs.

The final session produced 120 runs in 36 overs at the loss of two wickets. Sri Lanka will have to score another 250 runs perhaps in their first innings to get a grip on this match. That will need plenty of batting on Day 3 from them. India on the other hand will be hoping that they quickly get a couple of early wickets in the morning to put the pressure right back on Sri Lanka.

Originally posted 2009-11-17 13:15:17.

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