Sangakkara helps Lanka gain lead over India

Colombo, August 9:

Kumar Sangakkara cracked a solid 107 not out to help Sri Lanka gain a slender advantage over India in the crucial third and final Test today.

The left-hander was involved in two valuable partnerships as the hosts reached 251-6 in their first innings at stumps on the second day in reply to India’s 249. Sangakkara put on 95 for the third wicket with night-watchman Chaminda Vaas (47) and 60 for the fifth with Thilan Samaraweera (35). It is Sangakkara’s 17th hundred in 76 Tests.

India struck twice in the last session just when it looked like Sri Lanka were on course for a big lead, with Zaheer Khan having Samaraweera caught behind and Anil Kumble trapping Tillakaratne Dilshan (23) leg-before.

India were a paceman short in the last session as Ishant Sharma walked off the field after falling on his follow-through. Venkatsai Laxman was off the field throughout the day after twisting his ankle during practice before the day’s play and Sachin Tendulkar injured his left elbow while attempting a catch in the afternoon. India had another injury scare when wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel was hit on the face while collecting a delivery from Kumble. He, however, continued to keep wicket.

The tourists, who grabbed just one wicket in the morning, bounced back in the second session when off-spinner Harbhajan Singh removed Vaas and captain Mahela Jayawardene in successive overs. Vaas frustrated India for more than a session with a fighting knock before uppishly driving Harbhajan straight to Virender Sehwag in the covers. Vaas missed a rare double of 3,000 runs and 300 wickets in Test by just two runs.

He had survived twice on 47 before falling on the same score. He was given out by Mark Benson of England after being caught by close-in fielder Tendulkar off Kumble, but asked the official to review the decision under a new experimental rule. Benson ruled the batsman not out after consulting TV umpire Billy Doctrove.

Jayawardene also asked for a review after he was given out leg-before by umpire Rudi Koertzen of South Africa while attempting to sweep Harbhajan, but the initial decision proved right after consultation with the TV official.