x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Randiv wary of Tendulkar fightback

The Test debutant claims the wicket of Virender Sehwag as his first Test scalp but knows he needs to remove Sachin Tendulkar early if Sri Lanka are to stand any chance of victory.

Suraj Randiv, the Test debutant, claimed the wicket of Virender Sehwag as his first Test scalp yesterday but he knows he needs to remove Sachin Tendulkar this morning if Sri Lanka are to stand any chance of forcing victory. Tendulkar scored the 48th Test century of his remarkable career yesterday and shared an unbroken 141-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Suresh Raina, another player making his Test debut, to lead India's fightback. India were vulnerably placed on 243 for four at tea needing 200 runs to avoid follow on, but reached 382 for four at stumps. India need just 61 runs more to avoid the follow on with six wickets in hand. Tendulkar was dropped on 29 by Prasanna Jayawardene, the wicketkeeper, off Dilhara Fernando, the fast bowler, and made Sri Lanka pay a heavy price by racking up his sixth Test century of the year. He will resume on 108 this morning, having faced 181 balls and hitting 14 boundaries and a six. With the placid pitch showing no signs of deteriorating, he looks handily placed for a double century today. "We need to stop the runs," Randiv said. "We need to work hard. The pitch is good and it is very hard to get wickets. We have to be disciplined. It was very difficult to bowl a good line and length to Sachin [Tendulkar]. He comes forward and he goes back. It is very difficult to get a correct line and length to him. I think I bowled well to him." India started a strong reply to Sri Lanka's first innings score of 642 for four declared with Sehwag and Murali Vijay, the opening batsmen, sharing 165 runs. But Randiv and Ajantha Mendis, the other Sri Lanka spinner in the attack, struck back with three wickets for eight runs as the visitors went for lunch on 173 for three. Sehwag was the first to go after hitting 15 boundaries in his 101-ball innings. And Randiv bowled particularly well to deceive the dashing batsman with a doosra. "Sehwag was on 99 at that time. I thought he might go for a big shot and I thought of bowling a doosra at him. It worked and I got his wicket," said Randiv who ended the third day of the second Test with figures of two for 108. "When you get a player of his calibre it's a big thing. It's a privilege. I just came on to bowl and I thought he will do something different. Our bowlers hadn't given him any easy runs at that stage." Sehwag had said after the day's play that he had spotted Randiv's doosra, but decided to attempt the big hit anyway. "I bowl the doosra but like Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan, the retired off-spinner] it doesn't go the other way a lot," Randiv said. "But I got some bounce and some help." Vijay departed soon after for 58, caught leg before wicket by Mendis, after which Rahul Dravid, the No 3 batsman, trapped lbw by Randiv for three runs. Tendulkar and VVS Laxman shared a composed 68-run partnership for the fourth wicket, shoring up the innings before Mendis returned to trap Laxman lbw for 29 runs leaving India 241 for four. Along with Tendulkar, Raina also proved to be a thorn for the Sri Lanka attack. The left-handed batsman ended the day unbeaten on 66 off 133 balls, that included eight boundaries. Sri Lanka lead the three-match series 1-0 after having won the first Test at Galle last week. * Agencies

Sri Lanka 642-4 dec India (first innings, 95-0 overnight) M Vijay lbw b Mendis 58 V Sehwag st P Jayawardene b Randiv 99 R Dravid lbw b Randiv 3 S Tendulkar not out 108 VVS Laxman lbw b Mendis 29 S Raina not out 66 Extras: (b-5, lb-1, nb-9, w-4) 19 Total: (four wickets, 108 overs) 382 Fall of wickets: 1-165 2-169 3-173 4-241 Bowling: Prasad 10-0-53-0 (2nb), Fernando 21-0-83-0 (4nb, 3w), Mathews 9-1-24-0 (1w), Randiv 35-11-108-2, Mendis 26-2-92-2 (1nb), Dilshan 7-1-16-0.