Sri Lanka 600-6 dec India 223 & 138: Murali and Mendis propel Sri Lanka to 'perfect' victory

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The Independent Online

The Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene hailed his players' "perfect game" after they won the first Test against India by an innings and 239 runs here in Colombo on Saturday.

Four Sri Lanka batsmen scored centuries as they piled up 600 for 6, the spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (11 for 110) and Ajantha Mendis (8 for 132) shared 19 wickets and the fielding was superb. "The guys did brilliantly," Jayawardene said after Sri Lanka's biggest Test win on home soil. "Everything went to plan and I guess it was a perfect game for us.

"We batted well to put them under pressure when they batted and then we bowled and fielded exceptionally," he added. "Once we enforced the follow-on we knew we had to be patient because the pitch wasn't doing too much. We were lucky to get a couple of early wickets and after that Murali bowled brilliantly and Ajantha kept the pressure going at the other end.

"Special credit should go to Murali and Ajantha for how they bowled on what was a good batting track."

Jayawardene gave the new umpire referral system the thumbs-up. "If it wasn't used in this Test, we'd probably have had four bad decisions go against us," he said. "The decisions for both Sachin Tendulkar [caught at slip] and Rahul Dravid [caught at short leg] were tough ones for the on-field umpire. I am all for this new system, because if mistakes are made you can get them corrected."

The India captain, Anil Kumble, lamented his team's lacklustre performance. "We didn't really bat well in both innings but we need to work on all three departments," Kumble said. "It was not just one department that didn't support us. It was important that we really bowled well and held whatever chances came our way, but that didn't happen. It was one of those games where nothing went right for us."

Kumble brushed off suggestions that the team had been underprepared after a solitary practice game.

"I don't think we were underprepared – it was just that we were not good enough," he said.