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India complete crushing victory

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: December 20, 2005 11:05 IST
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Anil Kumble claimed four wickets for 85 runs as India beat Sri Lanka in the second Test by 188 runs, shortly after lunch on the final day at the Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 247 in 91.2 overs, handing India an easy victory and a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Kumble's four wickets in the second innings gave him match figures of 10 for 157, the eighth time he has taken a ten-wicket haul in Tests. It also improved his amazing record at the Kotla to 48 wickets in five Tests. The effort won him the man of the match award.

Stats: Most 10-wkt hauls in Tests | Biggest Test wins for India

Harbhajan Singh played a good supporting role, claiming 3 for 70 in the second innings, with Ajit Agarkar chipping in with 2 for 45.

Resuming at their overnight score of 123 for 5, Mahela Jayawardene provided some stiff resistance on the final day, scoring 67, his third consecutive half-century in the series, but the other batsmen simply caved under the pressure.

Morning session: (70 runs, 2 wickets, 29.3 overs)

Agarkar gave India the perfect start on the final day, when he trapped Jehan Mubarak leg before wicket for 3. The left-hander played down the wrong line to a full-pitched delivery that pitched on leg-stump and would have certainly hit middle and off. (131-6, 56.2)

Dravid opted to use Agarkar instead of having the two spinners bowl in tandem. Agarkar's unpredictability makes him a very dangerous bowler; you never know what to expect from him. It was very good move from the captain, and the bowler repaid the faith in him by getting a wicket very early.

In fact, twice in the innings Agarkar provided India with vital breakthroughs. Yesterday, he scalped the wicket of Kumara Sangakkara after he threatened to stitch a big partnership with Marvan Atapattu. The Mumbai bowler's early strike on the fifth day could well have opened the door for India.

Mahela Jayawardene hit a short delivery from Anil Kumble to the midwicket fence to register Sri Lanka's first boundary of the day, and their first for around 21 overs.

Runs came at a premium in the first hour, when only 30 runs were scored in 14.3 overs.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was finally bored of having to offer a defensive shot to every Kumble delivery. He charged the leg-spinner and lofted him straight back over his head for a boundary. Although runs were not a problem for India, they could take encouragement from the sight of a batsman trying to take risks.

Dilshan played in his normal aggressive fashion, hitting five boundaries for his 26, to bring up the fifty run partnership for the seventh wicket with Jayawardene.

Sri Lanka reached 194 for 6 after 74 overs, before Dravid opted to use spinners from both ends.

Dilshan's adventurous knock came to an end when Kumble bowled him for 32. He looked to be aggressive at every opportunity, but this time the veteran leg-spinner's faster delivery proved his undoing. Dilshan charged down the wicket, missed the flight of the ball completely and it crashed into his middle stump. (199-7, 76.5)

Sri Lanka's last specialist batsman Jayawardene continued to hold one end up as Sri Lanka tried to delay the inevitable. He was unbeaten on 43 from 131 balls in a total of 203 for 7 after 80 overs.

Vice-captain Chaminda Vaas was the other not out batsman, on 1.

Yet another session had gone India's way as they inched closer to victory. They also have the option of taking the new ball straight after lunch, but one doubts if they would use that option with Kumble looking so ominous with the old ball.

The 35-year-old leg-spinner has now taken nine wickets in the match and needs another one to register his eighth ten-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Post lunch session: (44 runs, 3 wickets, 11.2 overs)

Jayawardene continued his good form in the series, registering his third consecutive half-century. It was a hard earned half-century for the talented right-hander as he took 142 balls to reach the landmark, which was inclusive of four boundaries.

However, his steady resistance came to a tame end, when Harbhajan had him caught at forward short leg. The right-hander was caught in two minds and played very tentatively to a full-pitched delivery and the resultant inside edge was easily taken by Gautam Gambhir. (243-8, 89.5)

Jayawardene stood like a pillar for the visitors, scoring 67 runs in 163 balls, with seven boundaries. He fought a valiant battle in a losing cause, but impressed everyone with his application and dedication.

In the very next over Kumble got the wicket of Vaas with a short-pitched delivery that the left-hander pulled straight to Harbhajan at mid-wicket, for 17. (243-9, 90.2)

It gave Kumble his 10th wicket in the match, the eighth time has he has registered the feat in 99 Tests.

He nearly finished the match with his next delivery, when Dilhara Fernando played all over a yorker and missed, but the ball somehow unbelievably just missed the stumps.

However, it didn't take long for the last wicket to fall. Muttiah Muralitharan tried a huge swipe against Harbhajan only to offer a simple catch to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and give India an easy victory. (247-10, 91.2)

India won the match by a huge margin of 188 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series, with just one match to go. The first Test in Chennai ended in a draw after three-and-half days were washed out due to rain.

Except for Jayawardene and Atapattu, who scored half-centuries in both the innings, no other Sri Lankan batsman stood up to the task.

Muralitharan was, as usual, at his wicket taking best, taking 7-100 in the first innings, but he managed just one wicket in the second innings, which affected the Sri Lankans greatly.

It was a terrific performance from India after being bowled out for 290 in the first innings. Kumble, in particular, deserves special praise for his 6 for 72 in the first innings, which gave India that vital first innings lead of 60 runs -- something that allowed them ample time to have a go at the Lankans in the second innings.

Also read: Tendulkar's top 10

The match had a few memorable moments -- notably Tendulkar's world record 35th Test century to surpass Sunil Gavaskar's milestone. Irfan Pathan did no harm to justify his status of an upcoming all-rounder, scoring 93 runs as opener in the second innings, while taking four wickets in the match.

In the end, it was a comprehensive victory for India and Sri Lanka now have a lot of work to do if they are to stop the rampaging Indians. It couldn't get any worse for the visitors after the 6-1 rout in the one-day international series, but the third and final Test in Ahmedabad, starting on December 18, will offer them a good chance to salvage some pride.

Also read: Ganguly dropped for third Test | Meet Wasim Jaffer

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Harish Kotian

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