Sri Lanka 600-6 India 223 & 138dec: Murali and Mendis send India spinning to defeat

Sri Lanka win by innings & 239 runs
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The Independent Online

Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis spun Sri Lanka to an innings and 239-run victory over India on day four of the First Test in Colombo.

Muralitharan picked up six second-innings wickets to add to the five he took in the first, and Mendis claimed a match haul of eight wickets as Mahela Jayawardene's side went 1-0 up in emphatic style in the three-Test series.

India, forced to follow on after being bowled out for 223 in the first innings in reply to Sri Lanka's 600 for 6 declared, were bowled out for just 138 in their second innings less than an hour after tea.

Muralitharan ripped through the Indian batting again, getting rid of Virender Sehwag (13) early on and then picking up wickets at regular intervals. Sehwag fell just before lunch, trapped in front, a decision which the English umpire Mark Benson had referred to the third umpire.

India then lost their remaining nine wickets in little more than a session, marking another disappointing performance with the bat. VVS Laxman, the only India batsman to offer some resistance in the first innings with a gritty 56, was promoted to No 3, but he was removed by Mendis for 21, the spinner trapping him plumb in front with a delivery which hit the back pad.

Sachin Tendulkar (12) was a little unlucky when he attempted to paddle-sweep Muralitharan. The ball thudded into his front pad but flicked the bat before looping in the air for Tillakaratne Dilshan to take a fine catch at backward short leg. Umpire Billy Doctrove had ruled not out, but the decision was overruled by the third umpire, Rudi Koertzen, on review.

Muralitharan then snapped up the wickets of Gautam Gambhir (43), Sourav Ganguly (4), Dinesh Karthik (0) and Anil Kumble (12) to make it a performance to remember.

In his first Test match, Mendis was not far behind his idol. In addition to Laxman, he picked up the wickets of Rahul Dravid (10), Harbhajan Singh (15) and Zaheer Khan (3).

India had begun the day on 159 for 6 in their first innings, but any hope of stubborn resistance was soon ended when Kumble was dismissed in the third over of the day in a decision which also went to the third umpire.