Indians struggle despite Tendulkar and Karthik
Indians 196 for 8 (Tendulkar 69, Karthik 58*) trail Sri Lanka Board XI 224 by 28 runs
Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik were the only batsmen to get meaningful practice ahead of the first Test, as the rest of the Indians fell cheaply on the second day of the tour game against Sri Lanka Board XI. Tendulkar top-scored with 69, while Karthik sealed his spot for the first Test with a patient, unbeaten 58, but none of the others got among the runs as the Indians closed the day on 196 for 8, still 28 behind the Board XI total.
Wet weather delayed the start in the morning, and no play was possible before lunch. When the game did get underway, the Indians suffered an early setback as Rahul Dravid was run out for 5. Virender Sehwag got a start, but was trapped in front by Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner, for 27. It got worse for the Indians soon after when Dammika Prasad, the right-arm medium-pacer, dismissed Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman in the same over - Laxman was hit-wicket for a second-ball duck - to have them struggling at 80 for 5.
Tendulkar and Karthik then repaired the damaged partially with a 62-run sixth-wicket stand. Tendulkar made a brisk 69, the feature of which was his crisp driving on both sides of the wicket. He struck eight fours and a six in the 76 deliveries he faced - showing in the process that he is in prime form to score the 172 he needs to become Test cricket's highest run-getter - before falling to Seekkuge Prasanna, a 23-year-old legspinner.
Karthik was far more circumspect, with just six fours in 105 balls, but in an innings in which all the other batsmen were keen to play their strokes, his knock was just what the team needed. With Harbhajan Singh, he added 30 for the seventh wicket, but both Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan were dismissed shortly before close of play. Prasad, who played three one-day internationals for Sri Lanka a couple of years back, was the most successful bowler, finishing with figures of 3 for 30.