SL stack up the runs | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 04, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 04, 2010

SL stack up the runs

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara steers the ball into a gap as short-leg Murali Vijay looks on during the first day of the third Test match against India at the P Sara Oval International Cricket Stadium in Colombo yesterday.Photo: AFP

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara top-scored with 75 as the hosts prospered against an untidy Indian attack on the opening day of the third and final Test on Tuesday.
Former skipper Mahela Jayawardene made 56 and Thilan Samaraweera remained unbeaten on 65 as Sri Lanka, leading 1-0 in the series, piled up 293-4 by stumps at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo.
All-rounder Angelo Mathews was the other batsman at the crease on 26, having put on 52 runs so far for the fifth wicket with Samaraweera.
Sangakkara, who won his third successive toss and decided to take first strike on the even-paced wicket, missed out on a third century in the series.
The left-hander, who made 103 in the first Test and 219 and 42 not out in the second, looked set for another big knock when he hit five boundaries and two sixes with fluent elegance.
But a lapse in concentration midway through the afternoon session caused his downfall when he lofted left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha to long-on, where Virender Sehwag held the skier.
India, seeking a series-levelling win after losing the first Test, were let down by the bowlers, who sent down 14 no-balls and two wides during the day.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, making his first appearance in the series in place of the injured Harbhajan Singh, was the worst culprit with six no-balls in his 0-99 from 25 overs.
Ojha, the most successful bowler of the day with 2-78, sent down four no-balls. Seamer Ishant Sharma bowled three and Sehwag one, while Abhimanyu Mithun conceded two wides.
Sangakkara was given a reprieve on 23 when third slip Suresh Raina lunged to his right and dropped the ball that was carrying comfortably to Venkatsai Laxman at second slip. Mithun was the unlucky bowler.
Jayawardene, who put on 84 for the fourth wicket with Samaraweera, was unlucky to be given out leg-before by Australian umpire Rod Tucker in the final session.
Television replays indicated the ball from Ojha would have passed over the stumps.
Sri Lanka's assistant coach, Stuart Law, said he expected a keen tussle between bat and ball over the next four days.
"This wicket has something for everyone," the former Australian international said. "If you bat well, you score runs and we have already seen balls flying pass the edge off both seamers and spinners.
"It's going to be a test for the skills of the batsmen. I am very happy with the way things went for us and hopefully this will set us up for a big first innings total.
"The closer we get to 500, it sets up for a good victory."
Sri Lanka, batting almost the entire day in overcast conditions, lost both openers in the morning session to go to lunch on 102-2.
Tharanga Paranavitana, who also hit centuries in each of the previous two Tests, fell for eight when he edged Sharma to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (41) added 87 for the second wicket with Sangakkara, before he was run out off what turned out to be the last ball of the morning session.
Meanwhile, Indian star Sachin Tendulkar's 169th Test made him the most-capped player in history, surpassing former Australian captain Steve Waugh's tally of 168 appearances.
India went into the decisive Test without the injured Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan, while Raina, who hit a century on his debut in the last match, was preferred over Yuvraj Singh for the number six spot.
Fit-again fast bowler Lasith Malinga returned for Sri Lanka along with left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara. They replaced Dilhara Fernando and Dammika Prasad, who shared the new ball in the second Test.
SRI LANKA: First innings 293 for 4 (Dilshan 41, Sangakkara 75, Jayawardene 56, Samaraweera 65 not out, Mathews 26 not out; Ojha 2-78)
INDIA: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Venkatsai Laxman, Suresh Raina, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ishant Sharma.

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