Sachin Tendulkar slams double century

SachiniTendulkar_400.jpg

Colombo, July 29: Sachin Tendulkar hit an unbeaten 202 and Suresh Raina made 120 on his debut as India matched Sri Lanka's scoring spree in the second cricket Test on Thursday.

India, replying to Sri Lanka's mammoth 642-4 declared, carried their overnight total of 382-4 to 589-5 by tea on the fourth day at the Sinhalese Sports Club.

Tendulkar and Raina, who came together on Wednesday afternoon with India struggling at 241-4, put on 256 runs for the fifth wicket on a pitch holding no terror for the batsmen.

Tendulkar compiled his fifth double-century in a glorious 168-Test career marked by more runs (13,741) and hundreds (48) than any other batsman in history.

The 37-year-old braved the stifling hot and humid weather in the Sri Lankan capital for more than eight hours to remain unbeaten in a marathon innings studded with 23 boundaries and a six.

Tendulkar reached the 200-mark, his first in six years, with a flick off Ajantha Mendis for two runs, earning warm applause from team-mates and spectators alike.

Left-hander Raina became the ninth Indian to score a century in his first Test innings, before holing out to short mid-wicket off Mendis shortly after lunch.

Raina, 23 and already a veteran of 98 one-day internationals, was awarded his Test cap only after Yuvraj Singh reported sick on the opening day of the match.

He hit two sixes and 12 boundaries, reaching the landmark with a fluent off-drive against seamer Dammika Prasad that raced to the fence.

There was no respite for the hosts as Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni made 50 not out while sharing a sixth-wicket stand of 92 with Tendulkar.

Sri Lanka missed the wicket-taking abilities of the retired Muttiah Muralitharan and injured fast bowler Lasith Malinga as the young crop of bowlers failed to contain the Indians.

Debutant off-spinner Suraj Randiv and Mendis, who dismissed two batsmen each on the third day, had just one wicket between them on Thursday.

Randiv went for 202 runs in his 58 overs, while Mendis gave away 121 runs from 36 overs.

Muralitharan and Malinga claimed 15 of the 20 Indian wickets in the first Test in Galle last week, which Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

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