SL reeling at 154/5 SPORT
THE MYANMAR TIMES
INDIA’S bowlers tore through the Sri Lankan top order to put the visitors firmly on top on the second day of the first Test in Galle yesterday. Paceman Mohammed Shami picked two wickets in the same over and Umesh Yadav got rid of opener Dimuth Karunaratne after India posted a commanding 600 all out in their first innings.
Former captain Angelo Mathews was batting on 54 with Dilruwan Perera on six when stumps were drawn for the day, with Sri Lanka still trailing by 446 runs with five wickets in hand.
Opener Upul Tharanga struck a defiant 64 off 93 balls but was run out thanks to quick fielding by Abhinav Mukund.
Mukund also took a fine diving catch to send back Niroshan Dickwella (eight) and reduce the hosts to a shaky 154-5.
Yadav gave his side an early breakthrough after the Indian lower-order batsmen scored at a quick pace despite losing wickets at regular intervals.
Yadav had Karunaratne trapped leg before and although the batsman went for a review, the decision was upheld after replays showed the ball pitching on the middle stump.
Shami then dismissed debutant Danushka Gunathilaka for 16 and Ajantha Mendis for a duck in the space of four balls.
Mathews, who quit as captain after Sri Lanka’s recent one-day series defeat to Zimbabwe at home, tried to steady the innings and had faced 91 deliveries so far.
Earlier, paceman Nuwan Pradeep clinched his maiden five-wicket Test haul, putting the brakes on India’s free scoring.
Pradeep (6-132) dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara for 153, triggering a batting collapse which saw the tourists lose four wickets in a lively first session after resuming the day at 399-3.
Pujara hit 13 fours in his 265-ball knock to match his previous Test best of 153 against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2013.
Hardik Pandya struck a halfcentury on debut as India’s last two wickets added a quickfire 83 runs in 71 balls to lift the side from 517 for 8.
Shami hit Rangana Herath for three sixes while Pandya lofted Pradeep for as many sixes in an attacking batting display by India’s lower order batsmen.
Ajinkya Rahane (57) looked solid but was sent back to the pavilion after Karunaratne dived for a low catch on his right off fast bowler Lahiru Kumara.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha struck back with a sixth-wicket stand of 59, but India’s counter-attack unravelled as Sri Lanka dismissed the duo in the space of six balls. Ashwin (47) fell short of a well-deserved half-century while Saha (16) became the first victim of skipper Herath (1-159). – AFP
Cook and Westley hold firm against South Africa
SOUND batting from veteran Alastair Cook and debutant Tom Westley saw England to 62 for one on the first morning of the third Test against South Africa at The Oval yesterday.
When rain stopped play some 10 minutes before the scheduled interval, Cook was 34 not out and Westley 24 not out.
The Essex duo had put on exactly 50 for the second wicket after South Africa-born opener Keaton Jennings was out for a duck.
It was just the sort of ‘correct’ toporder Test-match display England’s critics, including several former captains, had called for after the hosts were twice bowled out cheaply in a huge 340-run defeat at Trent Bridge that saw South Africa level the fourmatch series at 1-1 last week.
Left-hander Cook had batted for 82 minutes, facing 77 balls, including five fours, with Westley so far having struck five fours in 47 balls faced during 87 minute at the crease.
England had a setback soon after captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat despite the overcast conditions and green-tinged pitch that promised to assist a Proteas’ pace attack bolstered by the return of Kagiso Rabada.
The under-pressure Jennings was repeatedly beaten outside off stump by Vernon Philander and it was no surprise when he eventually edged the seamer low to Dean Elgar at third slip for a nine-ball nought.
Westley, one of three debutants in England’s XI for what is the 100th Test at The Oval, walked out to bat with England 12 for one.
But he immediately looked far more certain of where his off stump was then Jennings.
Westley confidently left his first two deliveries from Philander, whose opening spell of one wicket for two runs in four overs, including three maidens, was testament to accuracy.