Sachin’s ton earns India the draw against Sri Lanka
SACHIN TENDULKAR celebrated his 20th year in Test cricket with a patient unbeaten century yesterday and guided India to a draw against Sri Lanka in the first Test.
India wiped out a huge firstinnings deficit of 334 runs on the fifth and final day to finish at 412-4 in their second innings with Tendulkar (100 not out) scoring his 43rd Test century.
Tendulkar, who made his Test debut against Pakistan at Karachi in 1989, hit 11 boundaries in his match-saving knock of five hours during which he faced 211 balls.
V.V.S. Laxman was unbeaten on 51 when the game closed and shared 137 runs with Tendulkar for the best partnership of the innings.
Sri Lanka scored the highest total in a Test innings in India when they declared their first innings at 760-7 after dismissing India for 426.
Tendulkar and Laxman ensured India avoided any hiccups in forcing a draw on a wicket which offered little for the bowlers during their three-hour fifth-wicket stand.
Gautam Gambhir (114) was the only wicket to fall in the last two sessions, but not before the elegant lefthanded opener had compiled his seventh Test century.
In a rare lack of concentration, Gambhir charged left-arm spinner Rangana Herath’s delivery and offered a tame catch to Dammika Prasad at mid-off.
Gambhir was the seventh batsman in the match to reach three figures in the opener of a three-Test series and faced 230 balls, hitting 13 boundaries.
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara tried his luck with the second new ball midway through the second session but failed to find another breakthrough.
“Ultimate winner is probably the wicket,” Sangakkara said after the match.
“It stayed nice and flat throughout five days and the Indian team showed a lot of fight to save the Test match.”
Earlier, India added 66 runs in the morning after resuming on 1902 overnight and lost the lone wicket of Amir Mishra (24).
However, tailender Mishra made Sri Lanka’s bowlers labour for nearly an hour to get rid of him.
Tillakaratne Dilshan took a superb catch at leg gully as Mishra played a decent shot only to see it caught just inches off the ground.
Offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan has now bowled 38 secondinning overs without taking a wicket and conceded 124 runs, but the flat nature of the Ahmedabad wicket offered nothing to either the seam or spin bowlers.
Herath (2-97) was the pick of Sri Lanka’s bowler while seamers Mathews (1-29) and Chanaka Welegedara (1-76) shared the remaining two wickets.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who also scored a century in the first innings, said the wicket favoured batsmen.
“We were expecting the wicket to have a bit more bounce for our spinners,” Dhoni said.
The second test begins at Kanpur on Tuesday. – Sapa-AP
TON UP: Sachin Tendulkar