Cricket: India take a firm grasp: Azharuddin opens up

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The Independent Online
Sri Lanka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119

India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .329-8

THE Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, led from the front with a century as his side took control of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka, in Ahmedabad yesterday. At the close of the second day, Azharuddin was unbeaten on 134 as India scored 329 for 8 in reply to Sri Lanka's 119.

Neither accurate spin bowling nor a rapidly crumbling pitch made any impression on Azharuddin as he cut and drove the Sri Lankan attack. It was his 14th Test century, containing 15 fours and one six.

After reaching his 100, Azharuddin opened up further as his team-mates struggled on a pitch showing deep cracks. The surface was ably exploited by the Sri Lankan spinners, who briefly put their side back in the match when India resumed their innings in the morning on 90 for 1.

Kapil Dev, who broke Sir Richard Hadlee's Test wicket record on Tuesday, made only four before being trapped leg before by de Silva.

When Nayan Mongia went to a similar decision, trying to sweep Don Anurasiri, Azharuddin was in danger of running out of partners. His tail-enders, Anil Kumble and Rajesh Chauhan, gave a display of dour batting to see their skipper through.

(Second day: Sri Lanka won toss)

SRI LANKA - First Innings 119.

INDIA - First Innings

(Overnight: 90 for 1)

N S Sidhu c Kalpage b Muralitharan . . . . . . . . . . .43

V G Kambli c Ranatunga b W'singhe. . . . . . . . . . . .57

S R Tendulkar b Wickremasinghe. . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

* M Azharuddin not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134

S V Manjrekar c Ranatunga b De Silva . . . . . . . . . .16

Kapil Dev lbw b De Silva. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

N R Mongia lbw b Anurasiri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

A Kumble c Kalpage b De Silva. . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

R K Chauhan not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Extras (lb5 b17 nb3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

Total (for 8) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .329

To bat: Venkatapathy Raju.

Fall (cont): 2-110 3-123 4-123 5-169 6-203 7-249 8-288.

Bowling: Wickremasinghe 32-9-99-2; Ranatunga 6-1-9-0; Anurasiri 22-3-64-2; Muralitharan 33-6-76-1; Kalpage 7-2-9-0; De Silva 23-5-50-3.