|Sri Lanka vs India 3rd and final Test at the
India 112/1 at lunch, still 264 runs behind
Tilan Samaraweera made everyone sit up and take notice by scoring a sparkling century on his debut for Sri Lanka, as the host team shoved opponents, India, under a cloud of doom on the third day of the third and final cricket test at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground yesterday.
Samaraweeras feat eclipsed three other records which were established as Sri Lanka pushed India to the ropes by posting a match winning first innings score of 610 for 6 before declaring.
The Sri Lankan batsmen made India toil for almost three full sessions in the face of a stupendous batting feat which revolved around the brilliance of three players.
Mahela Jayawardana, the recalled Hashan Tillakaratne and Samaraweera stroked centuries as the home team left the visitors a nerve tingling target of 376 runs to amass in order to avoid being crushed by an innings.
Sri Lankas total didnt seem like swelling to an imposing score after Jayawardana, who was on his way to a hundred at the close on the previous day, departed after completing his seventh century in test cricket. The right hander made 139 runs after batting for 216 minutes and wrote his name along with team-mates Atapattu, who scored his century the previous day, Tillekeratne and Samaraweera in a record which marked the first occasion where the countrys batsmen posted four centuries in an innings.
But when the Indians seemed like rapping the Sri Lankan innings they experienced the unexpected when the recalled Tillekaratne oiled the batting machine in him with a memorable century.
The left hander revived his role as the countrys most promising late middle order batsman and teamed up with Samaraweera to make clear to the Indians that they still had some steam to discharge.
Memories of Tillekeratnes cracking drives and Asweep shots relived in the minds of the ones present as the 34-year-old tore the Indian attack into shreds, helping Sri Lanka establish the highest score ever posted in a test match at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground.
Tillakaratne reached his century with a sweep and made it his best ever display with the willow, surpassing a knock of 126 he made against Zimbabwe, in 1996, at the same venue.
The veteran batsmans alliance with Samaraweera gave India the hint that the match might not go the full distance as they added a record 195 runs for the seventh wicket.
Samaraweera showed the makings of a future star as he picked his runs with the ease of a veteran batsman.
Even the taking of a new ball by the Indians didnt stop the flow of runs from the bats of Tillakaratne and Samaraweera, who showed scant respect to Indias strike bowlers, Prasad and Khan.
The 24-year-old had his moment of glory when he snicked a delivery from Prasad for four to reach the three figure mark and join the ranks of Brendon Kuruppu and Romesh Kaluwitharana as the countrys century makers on debut. Samaraweera had 10 boundaries in his innings while Tillekaratne smashed 15 fours and one six.
As many as four Indian bowlers conceded hundred runs each in their efforts to curtail the Sri Lankan batsmen with Prasad standing out among all, for his economical figures of 3 for 101 off 34 overs.
India in their second innings were 28 without loss with the promising Shiv Sunder Das unbeaten on 22.
India first innings 234 (Shiv Sundar Das 59, Muttiah Muralitharan 8-87)
Sri Lanka first innings (overnight 323 for five)
M. Atapattu c Das b Harbhajan Singh 108
S. Jayasuriya b Prasad 30
K. Sangakkara c Badani b Prasad 47
M. Jayawardene lbw b Bahutule 139
R. Arnold b Prasad 31
D. Liyanage c Dighe b Harbhajan Singh 3
H. Tillekaratne not out 136
T. Samaraweera not out 103
Extras: (lb-4 nb-5 w-4) 13
Total: (six wickets decl, 171 overs) 610
Did not bat: Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando
Fall of wickets: 1-48 2-119 3-252 4-310 5-321 6-416
Bowling - Khan 27-3-134-0 (w-1 nb-1), Prasad 34-8-101-3 (w-2 nb-1), Harbhajan Singh 53.3-6-185-2, Ganguly 12.3-3-44-0 (w-1 nb-1), Bahutule 31-5-101-1 (nb-2), Badani 8-2-17-0, Ramesh 5-0-24-0
India second innings
S. Das not out 22
S. Ramesh not out 4
Extras: (nb-1 w-1) 2
Total (no loss, 13 overs) 28
To bat: Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Mohammad Kaif, Hemang Badani, Sameer Dighe, Sairaj Bahutule, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Venkatesh Prasad.
Bowling (to date) - Vaas 4-2-6-0, Fernando 4-0-15-0 (nb-1 w-1), Muralitharan 3-1-3-0, Jayasuriya 2-1-4-0
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