Laxman Guides India To Series-Levelling Victory
India 436 (Sehwag 109) & 258-5 (Laxman 103no) beat
Sri Lanka 425 (Samaraweera 137no) & 267 by five wickets
Third Test, Colombo, day five
VVS Laxman stroked a composed unbeaten century to calmly steer India to a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the third and final Test in Colombo.
India's victory ensured that the series was tied at 1-1, following a ten-wicket win for Sri Lanka in Galle and a high-scoring draw in the second match, also held in Colombo.
India resumed the final day on 53 for three having been set 257 to win and Sri Lanka, marginal favourites when play began, struck quickly to remove nightwatchman Ishant Sharma for four to strengthen their position.
He was caught by Kumar Sangakkara as Suraj Randiv picked up his fourth wicket of the innings to reduce India to 62 for four but then followed a 109-run partnership between the experience of Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar for the fifth wicket.
Tendulkar made 54 in 122 balls, finding the boundary only three times as the pair kept the scoreboard ticking over and slowly started to put pressure back onto the Sri Lankans.
Laxman was more aggressive, hitting 12 fours on the way to his 16th Test century as he faced 149 balls for his unbeaten 103.
Randiv picked up a five-wicket haul when Tendulkar was caught by wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene but India did not allow Sri Lanka to get back into the game, Suresh Raina blasting 41 in 45 balls, including a six to win the game in style off Chanaka Welagedara.
Randiv returned figures of five for 82 but it was India who triumphed and after the run-fest in the previous match, this one proved a much better advert for Test cricket as no team could dominate for any length of time and the result was in the balance right until the final session.
The two sides now play a One-Day International tri-series also including New Zealand, which begins in Dambulla on 10th August.
© Cricket World 2010