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Monday, August 11, 2008

Sri Lanka cruise to series win over India

Sri Lanka clinched a 2-1 series victory with an emphatic eight-wicket victory against India in the deciding third Test in Colombo on Monday.
The hosts were left chasing 122 for victory after bowling out India for 268 in their second innings and finished 123 for two after 33.1 overs.
There was an early wobble with Sri Lanka collapsing to 22 for two but Malinda Warnapura (54 not out) and Mahela Jayawardene (50 not out) then added an unbroken 101-run partnership.
India, resuming on 161 for five at the start of the day, were eventually bowled out after fighting innings from Rahul Dravid (68) and VVS Laxman (61 not out).
Unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis , the man of the series, claimed three for 81 from 34 overs to complete a match haul of eight for 137 in the game.
Mendis was a revelation for Sri Lanka in his first series, breaking Englishman Alec Bedser's 24-wicket record for the most wickets in a debut series set against India in 1946.
The 23-year-old claimed 26 wickets at 18.38 during the three-match series.
Veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan claimed three for 99 from 37.5 overs, extending his series tally to 21 wickets at 22.23.
In the morning, India looked set to bat out the first session without losing a wicket before two quick wickets before lunch.
Dravid scored his first half-century of the series, a patient 68 from 166 balls including six fours, before Mendis changed his angle of attack and had the right-hander caught at slip from around the wicket.
Muralitharan, also bowling around the wicket, then trapped Anil Kumble lbw for nine.
Sri Lanka could also have dismissed Laxman but they grassed two difficult chances.
Thilan Samaraweera missed a diving catch at short mid-wicket on 39 and Warnapura missed a sharp one-handed chance at short leg when Laxman was on 50.
Sri Lanka took the new ball after lunch and Chaminda Vaas broke through in his first over, trapping Harbhajan lbw with an inswinger.
The innings then ended quickly as Samaraweera ran out Khan with a direct hit and Sharma was brilliantly caught at backward short leg.
Sri Lanka's run chase started badly with opener Michael Vandort (eight) cleaned bowled by off spinner Harbhajan.
India were forced to open the bowling with Harbhajan because of a leg injury sustained by Ishant Sharma on Saturday.
Left-armer Khan then grabbed the scalp of Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's first innings centurion, as the left-hander mistimed a drive straight to mid off.
Jayawardene and Warnapura reached tea on 45 for two and after the interval the third-wicket pair hunted down the target aggressively in front of the largest crowd of the game.
Warnapura cracked five boundaries in his 99-ball unbeaten 54 and Jayawardene stroked three fours in his 50 from 85 balls.

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