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Sa'adi Thawfeeq in Galle
July 31, 2008
The four-hour rain interruption after the lunch break gave Sri Lanka the opportunity to regroup after their bowlers were taken for 151 runs by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir during the first session. On resumption, they picked up four quick wickets to reduce India from 167 for 0 to 214 for 4 at stumps.
Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss admitted the interruption was most welcome. "The rain in some way helped us," he said. "We got some time to rethink and regroup which helped us pick up four wickets in the final session. Though India played pretty well, I thought early on today the intensity from Sri Lanka in the field probably wasn't quite what it was at the SSC.
"The fast bowlers were inconsistent in the first session and when good batsmen [like Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir] get on a roll it's a bit hard to pull them back. We spoke about trying to get as many balls in the right areas and bowling one side of the wicket."
Initially, the pitch offered the fast bowlers some assistance. Nuwan Kulasekara nearly had Gambhir caught at slips in the eighth over. "I thought Kulasekara bowled pretty well this morning without much luck. On another day he could have had one or two wickets and things might have been different," Bayliss said.
Sri Lanka though showed great character to come back into the game. Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly were dismissed in the space of 20 balls and 11 runs. "The boys are fairly happy at the end of the day. That's the way the game of cricket goes. You've got to take the good with the bad, and after the disruption it went our way. It will be an interesting game tomorrow," Bayliss said.
He also praised Ajantha Mendis for his comeback after the initial onslaught from Sehwag and Gambhir. "He's going to be a quick learner. He himself reassessed what he was doing early on and things went his way thereafter. He was unlucky not to pick up a few wickets early on as well."