India 426 & 412-4 (Gambhir 114, Tendulkar 100no) drew with
Sri Lanka 760-6 dec. (M Jayawardene 275, P Jayawardene 154no)
First Test, Ahmedabad
Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar scored centuries to steer India to safety and prevent Sri Lanka taking their first Test win on Indian soil in Ahmedabad.
Gambhir hit 114 and Tendulkar was unbeaten on exactly 100 as India reached 412 for four in their second innings to ensure that the two sides go to Kanpur, venue for the second Test, all square.
For the second time in the match, India responded well to being put under enormous pressure by the Sri Lankans. The first comeback came after they were reduced to 32 for four on the first morning when centuries from Rahul Dravid (177) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (110) helped them post 426 and then after Mahela Jayawardene's 275 enabled Sri Lanka to declare on 760 for six.
That put the Sri Lankans some 334 runs ahead but a half-century from Virender Sehwag and 38 from Dravid on day four set things up for an intriguing final day but Sri Lanka could only pick up two further wickets as they pushed for an unlikely victory on a pitch that had offered little to bowlers throughout the game, except on the mornings of days one and two.
Tendulkar's 43rd Test century meant that the match saw more centuries (seven) than ever before in a Test in Asia. Tillakaratne Dilshan (112) and Prasanna Jayawardene (154 not out) were the other two playes to pass three figures while returning pace bowler Chanaka Welagedara was the most successful on show with five wickets in the match.
Tendulkar was given excellent support by VVS Laxman, who was unbeaten on 51 while nightwatchman Amit Mishra played his part with 24, adding 40 priceless runs with Gambhir, who faced 230 balls and stroked 13 fours before being caught by Dammika Prasad off of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.
Mishra was caught by Dilshan off of Angelo Mathews before Tendulkar and Laxman added an unbroken stand worth 137 for the fifth wicket, Tendulkar hitting 11 fours in his innings, delighting the crowd which had stayed despite the match meandering towards the draw for much of the afternoon.
The second Test begins on 24th November.
© Cricket World 2009