It Rained Runs at the Green Park
The second Test of the ongoing India – Sri Lanka series has begun well for the hosts, with the openers amassing a one-day like partnership. The Green Park at Kanpur usually is a good track, and aids spinners later in the game. However, after a debacle against the Proteas at Motera last year, the pitch was transformed into a dustbowl where only Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman put bat to ball after four sessions, and India won that game within three days. The pitch didn’t look the same today, but Lanka went in with three spinners in Murali, Herath and Mendis.
Dhoni won the toss and had little to choose: Bat first or bat last against Murali and friends in the last innings, so he chose to bat first. Sehwag started off uncharacteristically. He usually scores a boundary off his first over, but edged his fourth ball, only to be saved by an overenthusiastic Prasanna Jayawardena who denied Mahela a catch at slip. He took more than four overs to score his first boundary, no doubt a personal record, but found his groove soon after. Meanwhile Gambhir was batting fluently, and this time his senior partner was doing the catching up. Gambhir had scored 24 before Sehwag scored his first boundary off his 26th ball. There was no damage done in the first hour unlike the first Test.
Thereafter, it went like a one day game. It was like the way Pakistan play ODIs these days: Slowly build up a partnership in the first 20 overs, then come out with the cannonball shots. Mendis bowled a full toss in his first over, which Viru hit for maximum. At lunch, India were 131, with the spinners having been taken apart. After the lunch came another deluge, during which both openers got their hundreds, and Sehwag was out to Murali for 131 off 122 balls. The pair had added 233 runs off just 248 balls, which is quite fantastic for a Test match. Gambhir carried on with Dravid and the flow of runs never ceased. India scored 176 runs in the long second session, and were 307 for the loss of Sehwag at tea.
Gambhir continued his fine form, and reached 150 but fell soon after, Murali taking a great catch for a 37 year old. Sachin joined Dravid at the crease and the two saw off further damage, going into the dressing room at 417-2. Dravid, on 85, seems well set for another hundred, and Sachin is on 20.
Watch highlights from the day’s play
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