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The Bulletin by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
December 14, 2005
India 290 (Tendulkar 109, Laxman 69) and 375 for 6 dec (Pathan 93, Yuvraj 77*) beat Sri Lanka 230 (Atapattu 88, Jayawardene 60, Kumble 6-72) and 247 (Atapattu 67, Jayawardene 67) by 188 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
Anil Kumble continued his romantic affair with the Feroz Shah Kotla, stretching his tally to a stunning 48 from five games, as India wrapped up an emphatic 188-run win to take a 1-0 lead in the series. A pugnacious partnership between Sri Lanka's last two specialist batsmen, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, delayed the inevitable but Kumble broke through just before the lunch break and sealed the issue.
A thumping win was always on the cards once India had taken such an imposing lead and handling Kumble and Co. on a wearing pitch was fraught with uncertainty. Throughout this game, the fall of one wicket often triggered a collapse and Dilshan's dismissal left one end exposed. Harbhajan Singh joined in with two wickets at the end - one of which was a classical offbreak to fox Jayawardene - as Sri Lanka's faint hopes of saving the game went up in smoke.
The 68-run stand between Jayawardene and Dilshan, though, raised visions of an unlikely result. The pair had come together early in the day, after Ajit Agarkar nailed Jehan Mubarak in the fifth over of the morning - Mubarak playing back to one that cut in. India, though, had to wait for nearly 21 more overs as both the batsmen, with a fine mix of attack and defence, thwarted their bid for an early finish.
Both didn't just concentrate on protecting their wickets and even began attacking the bowling once they overcame the early jitters. Dilshan refused to curb his natural instincts and flayed away at the wide ones, producing some joyous boundaries in his 65-ball 32. However, his tendency to attack resulted in his downfall when he charged down the track to a straighter one from Kumble, left a big gap between bat and pad and had no chance when the ball kept low and rattled the stumps.
Jayawardene was the more circumspect partner, keeping out the good balls and trying to rotate the strike. He handled the spinners with assurance, getting right behind the line of the ball to account for the low bounce on the fifth-day track, and grafted to his third successive half-century in the series. However, unlike in the first innings when he fell to a casual stroke, he was comprehensively beaten this time, having no answer when faced with a loopy offspinner from Harbhajan, drifting away slightly and turning back in.
Chaminda Vaas hung around for 36 balls, rattling three fours, but it was always going to be a futile effort. Marvan Atapattu felt their collapse on the second afternoon, when four wickets fell for 23 runs, had been the turning point, after which Sri Lanka were always playing catch-up. Sri Lanka, though, will do well to dwell on the positives and come back strongly in the final Test at Ahmedabad in four day's time. That game will be Kumble's 100th Test and Sri Lanka's hopes of winning their first Test in India, and squaring this series, will rest largely on how they counter his wiles at the Motera.
Jehan Mubarak lbw b Agarkar 3 (131 for 6)
Played back to an incutter
Tillakaratne Dilshan b Kumble 32 (199 for 7)
Charged down the track; straight ball kept low
Mahela Jayawardene c Gambhir b Harbhajan 67 (243 for 8)
Beaten by an offbreak as he pushed forward
Chaminda Vaas c Harbhajan b Kumble 17 (243 for 9)
Pulled straight to short midwicket
Muttiah Muralitharan c Dhoni b Harbhajan 2 (247 all out)
Skied an attempted loft over mid-off
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo.Feeds: Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
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