x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Follow on gives Muralitharan record chance

Muttiah Muralitharan edged closer to his 800th Test wicket as the hosts forced India to follow on, then dismissed their openers.

Lasith Malinga's lethal three-wicket spell has frustrated India's hopes to save the first Test as Sri Lanka edges close to a famous win. The visitors, after being forced to follow on today, finished day four at 181-5, needing 63 more runs to make Sri Lanka bat again. It has five second-innings wickets in hand and a day's play remaining.

Sachin Tendulkar (84) and Rahul Dravid (44) shared a solid 119-run partnership under pressure and showed signs of a serious fightback but Malinga dismissed both batsmen in a span of six balls. With India's last recognised batting pair at the crease, Virender Sehwag said his team hopes rain will return to help them try to save the match. The second day was lost to rain. "It's good in Test cricket we are getting results after one day's loss but it's bad for India to be on the losing side," he said. "Hopefully, MS (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) and VVS Laxman can play tomorrow and we are hoping that maybe after lunch rain will come and the match is over as a draw." The Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss said his team was determined for a result, after two innings defeats to India at the end of last year. "We are happy with the position we are in," Bayliss said. "We realise that there is still some hard work to be done." Earlier, retiring off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan bagged his 67th five-wicket haul to dismiss India at 276 in its first innings in reply to Sri Lanka's 520-8. At the close Muralitharan ended with 798 Test wickets in his final Test, two short of his stated target, before his retirement. "It's the first time I've seen him with a bit of emotion after taking five wickets, throwing his hands in the air," Bayliss said. "We all hope he finishes it off tomorrow just as well." * With agencies

At the close of the fourth day of the first Test from Galle Stadium. Sri Lanka first innings 520-8 dec (Paranavitana 111, Sangakkara 103, Herath 80 not out, L. Malinga 64; A. Mithun 4-105) India first innings (140-3 overnight) Gambhir lbw b Malinga 2 Sehwag c Paranavitana b Welagedara 109 Dravid run out 18 Tendulkar lbw b Muralitharan 8 Laxman c Dilshan b Malinga 22 Singh c M Jayawardene b Muralitharan 52 Dhoni b Muralitharan 33 Singh st P Jayawardene b Herath 2 Sharma not out 5 Ojha c M Jayawardene b Muralitharan 3 Mithun b Muralitharan 8 Extras: (b-1, lb-1, nb-10, w-2) 14 Total (all out, 65 overs) 276 Fall of wickets 1-2, 2-68, 3-101, 4-169, 5-178, 6-252, 7-259, 8-259 9-266 10-276. Bowling: Malinga 13-0-55-2 (4-nb), Welagedara 11-1-69-1 (1-w, 5-nb), Herath 18-1-62-1 (1-nb), Mathews 5-0-19-0 (1-w), Muralitharan 17-1-63-5, Dilshan 1-0-6-0. India second innings Gambhir c P Jayawardene b Malinga 0 Sehwag c M Jayawardene b Welegedara 31 Dravid c Sangakkara b Malinga 44 Tendulkar lbw b Malinga 84 Laxman not out 9 Yuvraj Singh c M. Jayawardene b Muralitharan 5 Extras (lb 3, w 1, nb 4) 8 Total (5 wickets; 59.3 overs) 181 Fall of wickets: 1-0 2-423-161 4-172 5-181 Bowling: Malinga 9-2-33-3 (2nb), Welegedara 6-1-26-1 (1nb), Herath 14-2-27-0 (1nb), Mathews 7-3-13-0 (1w), Muralitharan 18.3-1-57-1, Dilshan 5-0-22-0