Mendis magic stalls India
Ajantha Mendis continued his breathtaking introduction to Test match cricket by taking 5-56 to help dismiss India for 249 in Colombo.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 09/08/08 11:56am
Third Test Match - Day one
India 249 (G Gambhir 72, B A W Mendis 5-56) v Sri Lanka 14-1
Ajantha Mendis continued his breathtaking introduction to Test match cricket by taking 5-56 to help dismiss India for 249 on the opening day of the decisive third Test in Colombo.
With the three-Test series deadlocked at 1-1, the opening day heroics of Mendis have given Sri Lanka the initiative heading into day two.
Although it is Mendis who has grabbed the headlines with his second five-wicket haul in Test cricket, the morning session belonged to debutant paceman Dammika Prasad after he had taken three key wickets.
However, the day was not completely dominated by the hosts as India struck with two overs of the day remaining to dismiss opener Malinda Warnapura to leave Sri Lanka on 14-1 at stumps.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, captain Anil Kumble was sitting comfortably on the balcony after openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag had negotiated a tricky opening spell with minimum fuss.
However, Kumble's glee soon turned to dismay as an inspired burst from Prasad saw the game turn on its head shortly before tea.
With Sehwag well set on 21, Prasad found the aggressive opener's outside edge through to Prasanna Jayawardene to start a procession of Indian wickets.
Veteran right-handers Rahul Dravid (10) and Sachin Tendulkar (6) then fell in identical fashion trapped in front to Prasad to leave the tourists reeling at 102-3.
Lunch provided India with a welcome break, however when the players returned so too did the wickets.
Sourav Ganguly (35) edged to Mahela Jayawardene to give Muttiah Muralitharan his first wicket of the day, and just four runs later Gambhir perished for a measured 72 as Mendis got in on the act.
VVS Laxman and Parthiv Patel began rebuilding a quickly evaporating Indian innings, however the departure of Laxman for 25 sparked the loss of four wickets for just eight runs.
Mendis did the damage in a scintillating two-over burst which saw him claim the wickets of Laxman, Patel (13) and Kumble (1) before Murali made further inroads by dismissing Harbhajan Singh for just three.
Zaheer Khan offered stubborn resistance at number 11 as he struck a useful 32, however Mendis completed his five-wicket haul and the India innings as he lured the seamer out of his ground allowing Jayawardene to take off the bails.
There was time for Sri Lanka to face eight overs, and they finished the day on 14-1 after the loss of Warnapura, clean bowled by a bullet from Sharma for eight.
Fellow opener Michael Vandort is unbeaten on three while nightwatchman Chaminda Vaas is yet to score.