Sangakkara, Paranavitana dominate a lacklustre Indian attack

Galle (Sri Lanka), July 19: Kumar Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana compiled dominating centuries as Sri Lanka piled up 256 for two against India on the first day of the first cricket Test here Sunday.

Sangakkara (103) and Paranavitana (110 batting) shared a 181-run stand for the second wicket after the fall of Tillakaratne Dilshan, who became the maiden Test victim of debutant pacer Abhimanyu Mithun.

The Indian bowling attack, missing pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, was lacklustre and appeared clueless as the two Sri Lankans batted with ease on a day when only 68 overs were possible and early stumps were called due to bad light. The start of the match was delayed by 30 minutes due to a wet outfield.

Youngster Mithun (1-41) was impressive in his morning spell. Ace spinner Harbhajan Singh, who is recovering from a bout of flu and a hamstring problem, was economical, but lacked the sting. He went out in the second session, returned after 20 minutes, but was back in the pavilion in the final session.

Ishant Sharma was wayward and got the punishment.

India went wicketless in the second session, which was completely dominated by Sangakkara and Paranavitana.

Sangakkara struck his 22nd Test century, guiding Sri Lanka to 228 for one at tea.

Sri Lanka, who were 91 for one at lunch, added 137 runs in 38 overs in the second session.

Sangakkara got a life when Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to hold on to a catch off part-time spinner Virender Sehwag. But apart from that chance, the Sri Lankan captain was in command and dictated to the Indian bowlers. He took 141 balls for his century, hitting 12 fours.

Sangakkara was out immediately after tea, when he mistimed a pull shot off Sehwag and was caught by Sachin Tendulkar.

Paranavitana took his time in the middle. He played 229 balls and struck 12 fours to bring up his maiden Test century.

Earlier, Sri Lanka after electing to bat, began on a confident note as they made 91 for one at lunch.

Openers Paranavitana and Dilshan stamped their authority by reaching 50 in the ninth over.

Ishant, who along with Mithun opened the attack, was spanked to all parts of the ground.

Ishant gave away 41 runs in his five overs in the morning as Paranavitana struck him for a four in the first ball of the innings and then repeated it with another boundary in the opening over. Dilshan also smashed five fours off Ishant in two overs before Dhoni finally took him off.

Mithun made an impressive debut as he removed the dangerous looking Dilshan, who tried to play a hook shot off a short-pitched delivery which brushed his gloves and Dhoni took an easy catch.

Dhoni replaced Ishant with Harbhajan, who bowled a tight line and length to slow down the proceedings.

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