Sri Lanka force India to follow on in Galle

GALLE, Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara had no hesitation in enforcing the follow on on India on the fourth day of the first Test at Galle.

India were all out for 276 in their innings, in reply to Sri Lanka’s 520 for eight declared. India trail by 244 runs in the first innings.

Veteran Muttiah Muralitharan took 5/63 as he neared a record 800 wickets in Tests. He now needs just 3 more to reach the mark.

Earlier, Virender Sehwag struck a century but the ignominy of follow-on was looming large on India as they were tottering at 260 for eight in their first innings at lunch on day four of the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka here today.

Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was on course of a memorable swansong as he took two big wickets in the morning session and left India with tail-enders to get 60 more runs to avoid follow-on.

Ishant Sharma (1) and Pragyan Ojha (0) were at crease when the break was taken at Galle International stadium.

Sehwag resumed at his overnight score of 85 and got out soon after completing his 20th Test hundred.

Yuvraj Singh (52) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33) were the only other Indian batsmen who offered some resistance before becoming the victims of Murailtharan, who is fast approaching 800-wicket mark.

At the start, Sehwag was batting in tremendous fashion as he dispatched paceman Chanaka Welegedara to boundary twice and then gave a similar treatment to Angelo Mathews to reach his century.

He continued his good show at this venue, where he had scored a double hundred in 2008, and his hundred came in quick time, in just 108 balls and with 18 fours and a six.

While Sehwag was batting aggressively, Laxman on the other end was happy rotating the strike. The Delhi batsman the paid price when he chased a widish delivery from Welegedara and ended in the hands of Tharanga Paranavitana at first slip.

Yuvraj came to the crease but Laxman’s stay was cut shot when he fell to Lasith Malinga.

Yuvraj and Dhoni stemmed the rot by raising a 74-run stand for the sixth wicket and almost put India’s campaign back on track. However, Murailtharan accounted for both of them in successive overs and again India were in trouble.

The off-spinner first trapped Dhoni before the wicket and then had Yuvraj caught by Mahela Jayawardene in slip cordon.

Yuvraj scored eight boundaries and a six in his fifty.

Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka 1st innigs: 520 for eight declared

India 1st innings : 276 all out in 66 overs. (V Sehawg 109, Yuvraj Singh 52, MS Dhoni 33; M Muralitharan 5/63).(PTI)

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