Tendulkar's double ton leads India's run feast
COLOMBO: Star batsman Sachin Tendulkar hit 203 and debutant Suresh Raina made 120 as India bettered Sri Lanka's run-spree in the high-scoring second cricket Test on Thursday.
India, kept on the field for the first two days during Sri Lanka's massive 642-4 declared, responded by piling up 669-9 by stumps on the fourth day at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
With just 13 wickets having fallen on the placid wicket in four days, the batsman-dominated Test is heading for a draw with Sri Lanka enjoying a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Tendulkar and Raina, who came together on the third afternoon with India on 241-4 and struggling to avoid their second successive follow-on, put on 256 runs for the fifth wicket.
Tendulkar compiled his fifth double-century, adding another feather to a glorious 168-Test career marked by more runs (13,742) and hundreds (48) than any other batsman in history. He is also the leading one-day batsman with 17,598 runs and 46 hundreds, including the only double-century in limited-overs internationals.
The 37-year-old braved the stifling hot and humid weather in the Sri Lankan capital for more than eight hours to play 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, just 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 his century with a fluent off-drive against seamer Dammika Prasad that raced to the fence. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (76) joined in the run feast after Raina's departure, adding 95 for the sixth wicket with Tendulkar and 51 for the eighth with Abhimanyu Mithun (41).
It was left to part-time spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan to get rid of Tendulkar soon after tea as wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene held a bat-pad catch moving swiftly to the silly point area. Dilshan also dismissed Harbhajan Singh in the same over and later took a return catch off Dhoni to finish with three wickets.
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. Mendis finished with 4-157 from his 54 overs, while off-spinner Suraj Randiv failed to add to his two wickets on the third day and returned with 2-212 in 64 overs.
Muralitharan and Malinga had claimed 15 of the 20 Indian wickets in the first Test in Galle last week, which Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets.