Kumble spins Sri Lanka to defeat

Veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble recorded his eighth ten-wicket haul in Test cricket as India comfortably applied the finishing touches to a convincing victory in the Second Test against Sri Lanka at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla.

Kumble’s double strike to remove visiting captain Marvan Atapattu and night-watchman Malinga Bandara on the fourth evening had put the home side in the box seat, and play resumed on the final morning with Sri Lanka 123 for five, requiring another 313 for an unlikely triumph.

Jehan Mubarak was the first tourist to fall, failing to add to his unbeaten first innings effort when Ajit Agarkar caught him on the crease, playing back to a ball that came back into him, leaving Tillakaratne Dilshan as the last of the specialist batsmen to join Mahela Jayawardene and spark a bright liaison that prevented Sri Lanka’s defeat from progressing any further than simply a loss.

For a time, as Jayawardene rotated the strike and Dilshan unleashed his attacking instincts through the covers, a remarkable rearguard looked within the realms of possibility – until Kumble intervened once more. This time Dilshan’s aggression was his own undoing as, on his way down the wicket, he was unable to adjust as a straighter ball kept low and rattled into the stumps.

Chaminda Vaas was next to the crease and he resisted for a time with Jayawardene, but when the senior partner fell – deceived by turn and drift from Harbhajan Singh to be caught at slip by Gautam Gambhir – the writing was well and truly on the wall. It took another nine balls to finish the innings as Vaas first pulled Kumble to his spinning partner at midwicket and Muttiah Muralitharan hit the off-spinner Harbhajan straight up in the air for Mahendra Dhoni to complete a routine catch.

Following the opening game’s washout, Sri Lanka can still level the series with a win in the Third and final Test in Ahmedabad in what will be Anil Kumble’s hundredth Test – but to do that, they will need to find more durability from their middle order. In the first innings at Delhi, 175/2 became 198/6 – and second time around these four wickets fell for only just over half the return – 119/2 becoming 131/6. In fact, Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene – with twin fifties apiece – contributed 282 of their side’s 477 runs. With India no longer carrying a middle order passenger in Sourav Ganguly, it will be a big ask for the visitors to win, but whether India can take twenty more wickets, clinch the series 2-0 and claim second in the ICC Test Rankings is another question.

India 290
Sachin Tendulkar 109, VVS Laxman 69
Muttiah Muralitharan 7/100, Malinga Bandara 2/54

Sri Lanka 230
Marvan Atapattu 88, Mahela Jayawardene 60
Anil Kumble 6/72, Irfan Pathan 3/34

India 375/6 dec
Irfan Pathan 93, Yuvraj Singh 77*
Chaminda Vaas 2/65, Malinga Bandara 1/74

Sri Lanka 247
Marvan Atapattu 67, Mahela Jayawardene 67
Anil Kumble 4/85, Harbhajan Singh 3/70

India win by 188 runs and lead the series 1-0

Cricket Web Player of the Match
Anil Kumble (India) – 6/72 and 4/85

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