Sharma bowls India to victory

Galle, August 3:

Teenager Ishant Sharma’s superb bowling helped India square the series with a 170-run victory over Sri Lanka in the second Test here on Sunday.

Sharma finished with 3-20 off 15 testing overs as Sri Lanka were shot out for 136 in their second innings on the fourth day chasing a 307-run target. India lost the opening match of the three-Test series by an innings and 239 runs. The final is from August 8.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (4-51) and leg-spinner (2-41) built on Sharma’s effort. Harbhajan also took six wickets in the first innings. Sharma wrecked Sri Lanka’s top order with two quick wickets in the opening spell before returning to break a stubborn partnership in his second spell.

Sri Lanka were on the backfoot following Sharma’s double-strike before collapsing against spin late in the day. The hosts lost their last five wickets for just six runs, with Harbhajan taking three and Kumble two. The hosts had a disastrous start losing three wickets for 10 runs in the opening four overs, with Sharma taking two and Zaheer Khan one. Thilan Samaraweera (67 not out) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (38) defied the Indian pace-spin combination with a 76-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Sharma broke the stand immediately after the tea-break when he had Dilshan caught by Dinesh Karthik. Harbhajan had Prasanna Jayawardene caught by Sourav Ganguly. Sri Lanka were in deep trouble after losing Kumar Sangakkara (one) and skipper Mahela Jayawardene (five).

Sharma, who removed Malinda Warnapura with his third ball, got the big wicket when he had Jayawardene caught by Rahul Dravid at gully. Zaheer struck in his second over when he dismissed Sangakkara. Michael Vandort was out when he fell leg-before in Harbhajan’s opening over.

India earlier faltered against Sri Lankan spinners Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan as they were bowled out for 269 after resuming at 200-4. They lost their last five wickets for 17 runs in a dramatic collapse. Unorthodox spinner Mendis took 4-92 to complete a maiden 10-wicket haul in only his second Test. Muralitharan took two of the six wickets that fell in the morning to finish with 3-107.