Openers guide Sri Lanka to 128 for 1 at lunch

COLOMBO: Indian bowlers struggled to make an impact as Sri Lanka scored briskly to reach 128 for one at lunch on the opening day of the second cricket here today.

Defiant knocks by openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana guided the Lankans against a largely listless bowling performance by the Indians, who have to win this match to remain afloat in the three-match series and hold on to their top spot in the ICC rankings.

Dilshan, whose 50 came in 39 balls and was laced with 10 boundaries, was the only wicket to fall in the session when he was caught by the perfectly positioned V V S Laxman at short extra cover of Pragyan Ojha at 54.

At the break, Lankan skipper Kumara Sangakkara was batting on 18 and Paranavitana was on 45, with the help of six boundaries.

Continuing from where he left in the second innings at Galle, Dilshan scored at will hammering several boundaries on a batting-friendly track.

The right-hander was particularly severe on Ishant Sharma whom he hit with impunity.

Though accelerating in pace, Sharma hardly troubled Dilshan and the Lankan leaned forward to a 138 kmph delivery from the lanky bowler, thumping it between the mid-off and extra cover.

The very next delivery was dispatched to the mid-wicket, another short in length bowl in the same over was punched to the extra cover.

Earlier in the morning, Paranavitana was fortunate when an edge off Mithun fell short of the Indian captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Paranavitana then clobbered Pragyan Ojha for two consecutive boundaries after the drinks break.

Sri Lanka’s 100 runs came in just 114 balls in 88 minutes.

India were dealt a massive blow even before the start of the match when opener Gautam Gambhir was ruled out following a knee injury while Yuvraj Singh made way to Suresh Raina due to fever.

There was overhaul of the Sri Lankan bowling attack with Ajantha Mendis, Dilhara Fernando, Suraj Randiv and Dhamika Prasad making it to the final eleven(PTI)

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