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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Warnapura lights up gloomy opening day

India captured two early wickets before opener Malinda Warnapura lit up a rain-truncated opening day with a sparkling unbeaten half century to guide Sri Lanka to 85 for 2 wickets in the first cricket Test in Colombo on Wednesday.
The left-handed Warnapura was unbeaten on 50, his third Test half century, as the hosts played cautiously to share the day's honours.

Only 22 overs were possible as play started nearly four hours late due to rain and soggy ground conditions at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground.
Electing to bat, the hosts lost opener Michael Vandort (3) and Kumar Sangakkara (12) cheaply, but Warnapura held the innings together with a solid effort.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene (16 not out) was giving Warnapura company when play was called off early because of bad light.

The Indians, seeking to achieve the rare feat of winning a series against the islanders in their own bacikyard, fired the first salvo when the lanky Ishant Sharma got rid of Vandort with a rising delivery.
The left-handed Vadort went on the front foot but only edged the outgoing delivery to Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps, much to the delight of his teammates. Sri Lanka were 7 for 1.
Zaheer Khan then struck, dismissing Sangakkara with a gem of a delivery that saw Rahul Dravid taking a smart catch at first slip.

After Vandort's dismissal, Warnapura went on the offensive, hammering Ishant for three boundaries in one over. He first whipped the ball to the third man region, then to long-off and the next through fine leg.
Sangakkara looked a bit subdued and played second fiddle to the young Warnapura. He struck a boundary through deep mid-on off Zaheer to break the shackles but perished soon after.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene, who joined the action after Sangakkara returned to the pavilion, began confidently and soon settled down by driving a Sourav Ganguly delivery to the cover boundary.

India captain Anil Kumble persisted with the pace bowlers, taking advantage of the overcast conditions and introduced Ganguly to give Ishant a break.
Zaheer, who is back after a lay-off due to injuries, worked up a fair bit of pace but experienced no-ball problems, bowling three in his first spell.

He was replaced by Ishant from the press box end. Ishant, who troubled the batsmen, gave away just 20 runs off five overs in his first spell.
Warnapura was lucky not to have got an edge off Ishant on a couple of occasions.
It was at the fag end of the day that Kumble brought on off-spinner Harbhajan Singh but he could not make much of an impression in the only over he bowled, giving away seven runs.
Warnapura slammed six boundaries during his unbeaten knock, which came in 107 minutes and off 74 balls.


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