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Pant piles pain on Sri Lanka, Wood injured in Windies

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13th March, 2022
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Sri Lanka are 1-28 in their second innings after Rishabh Pant’s record-breaking half-century enabled India to set them an unlikely target of 447 for victory in the second and final Test.

Jasprit Bumrah struck in the first over to trap opener Lahiru Thirimanne LBW for a duck as India, one up in the series, turned the screw on Sunday.

But skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (ten) and Kusal Mendis (16) saw out the final few overs of the second day, with the tourists still 419 runs behind in the pink-ball encounter.

Having bowled out Sri Lanka for 109 in the first session, India batted 69 overs before declaring on 9-303 with Shreyas Iyer and Pant notching up half-centuries while other Indian batsmen failed to go on from solid starts.

Rishabh Pant

(Photo by Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images)

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Skipper Rohit Sharma, playing his 400th international match, holed out in the deep to fall four runs short of his 50 while Hanuma Vihari (35) was bowled by spinner Praveen Jayawickrama as he tried to sweep.

Jayawickrama struck again to surprise Virat Kohli (13) with a delivery that turned sharply and kept low, trapping him LBW in identical fashion to his dismissal in the first innings.

Kohli gave a wry smile as silence descended on the M Chinnaswamy Stadium with a near-capacity crowd hoping to see the former captain and star of the IPL franchise end his century drought.

But Pant took the game away from the Lankans by going after the bowling as soon as he walked to the crease, bringing up his 50 with seven fours and two sixes.

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Made from 28 balls, his half century was the fastest by an Indian batsman, breaking the Test record set by Kapil Dev 40 years ago, before he skied a delivery from Jayawickrama who took the catch himself.

Iyer helped guide India to a lead beyond 400 with his second half-century of the match to add to his fine knock of 92 on a turning track in the first innings.

With nine boundaries, Iyer looked comfortable at the crease before he was outfoxed by a Lasith Embuldeniya delivery that rapped him on the pads and sent him back to the pavilion for 67.

Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal, playing in his final match before retirement, went wicketless in the second innings but he led the tourists off the field, with India coach Rahul Dravid also shaking his hand.

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Earlier, Sri Lanka had resumed Day 2 on 6-86 but their resistance lasted only 27 minutes as Bumrah (5-24) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-30) cleaned up the tail.

Bumrah claimed his eighth five-wicket haul and his first on home soil on a pitch heavily favouring the spinners.

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Meanwhile in the Caribbean, England’s interim coach Paul Collingwood rates Mark Wood as “unlikely” to be fit for the second Test against the West Indies but is optimistic about Ollie Robinson’s prospects.

After settling for a draw on a sleepy surface in Antigua, the circus moves swiftly on to Barbados, where the series continues on Wednesday.

And for Collingwood, sifting through his bowling options is the first item on the agenda. 

Wood played a bit-part role at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, with an elbow injury forcing him out of the match after bowling just 17 overs.

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England will send the seamer for a scan but it seems fanciful to think they would risk him so soon and, given the nature of the problem, he could also be a doubt for the decider in Grenada later this month.

“He is sore. We are going to get to Barbados, have a look at him then and see what he is going to be like for the rest of the series,” said Collingwood on Sunday.

“A scan is the sensible option, there is an impingement there so I’m sure we will have further investigations. 

“But he’s not bowled in the second innings of the Test so you would say it is unlikely (he can play).”

With Saqib Mahmood and Matt Fisher already in the squad, England have decided against sending for additional cover but will be wary of the workloads being asked of their seamers.

With Wood unable to carry his share, Craig Overton sent down 42 overs in Antigua, Ben Stokes accelerated his recovery from a side strain to serve up 41 and Chris Woakes contributed 39. 

There will be tired legs and stiff bodies and none of the trio are expected to train at an optional session on Monday.

England would like to bring Robinson back in to freshen up their attack after he missed the first Test with back spasms and he is tracking in the right direction to make himself available.

“Ollie is looking pretty positive at the moment. His recovery has been excellent,” said Collingwood.

Jofra Archer will link up with the England squad in Barbados as part of his ongoing rehabilitation from a long-standing elbow problem of his own. 

The World Cup winner has been out of action for ten months and is not expected to fit for action until midway through the summer.

© AAP

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