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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2005, 12:38 GMT
India recovery halts Sri Lankans
Third Test, Ahmedabad, day one (close): India 247-6 v Sri Lanka

VVS Laxman celebrates his half-century in Ahmedabad
Laxman led India's fightback
India fought back after a collapse to end day one of the final Test against Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad on 247-6.

The hosts were reduced to 125-5 at tea as Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga took two wickets each.

Off-spinner Muralitharan took the crucial wicket of Sachin Tendulkar (23), who was caught at short-leg.

But VVS Laxman hit an unbeaten 71, putting on 86 with wicket-keeper Mahendra Dhoni (49) and 64 with Irfan Pathan (39no) to lead the recovery.

Sri Lanka will be disappointed after their inexperienced attack - missing flu victims Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando - ran through the hosts' top order on a good batting track.

India, leading 1-0, were without gastroenteritis victim Rahul Dravid - whose run of 94 consecutive Tests since his debut in England in 1996 was ended.

Leg-spinner Anil Kumble became the fifth Indian to play in 100 Tests and would have been delighted when stand-in captain Virender Sehwag won the toss and opted to bat.

Sachin Tendulkar (35th Test century) and Anil Kumble (100th Test appearance) were recognised before the start of play
Tendulkar's 35th Test ton and Kumble's 100th appearance were recognised before play began

After heavy dew delayed proceedings for an hour, Sehwag and Gautum Gambhir began aggressively.

Malinga was particularly expensive but he struck when Gambhir went after a shorter one outside off-stump and was caught at mid-wicket by Upul Tharanga.

It became 52-2 when the paceman's sharp in-cuitter beat Sehwag's defences and clattered into the stumps.

Tendulkar adopted a patient approach, hitting only two fours in his 66-ball 23, before gloving Muralitharan to Jehan Mubarak.

He was the first of three wickets to fall in quick succession as Yuvraj Singh edged Muralitharan to Thilan Samaraweera at slip and Kaif pulled leg-spinner Malinga Bhandara straight to Marvan Atapattu at mid-wicket.

But Laxman survived a bat-pad shout on 51 off Bandara - replays suggested that the ball had taken the inside edge - to compose a 194-ball knock featuring nine fours.

The scoring rate improved with the arrival of Dhoni, who smashed seven boundaries in 64 balls before Muralthiran trapped him lbw.

Pathan took over Dhoni's role and had seven fours against his name before stumps were drawn after an hour's extension in the evening to make up for lost time at the start.

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16 Dec 05 |  South Asia
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14 Dec 05 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka in India 2005
04 Nov 05 |  Future tour dates


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