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November 20, 2009

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Jayawardenes clip 72-year-old record

SRI Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and Prasanna Jayawardene broke a 72-year-old world record yesterday as hosts India conceded a massive first-innings lead in the first test in Ahmedabad.

Sri Lanka declared its first innings at 760-7 -- thanks to a 351-run sixth-wicket stand between the Jayawardenes -- which earned the visitors a 334-run lead. It was the highest innings total ever scored in India in a test innings.

India, which made 426 in its first innings, was 190-2 in its second at stumps on the fourth day and lost the crucial wicket of first innings centurion Rahul Dravid (38). Gautam Gambhir was unbeaten on 74 while nightwatchman Amit Mishra (12) saw off the last five overs.

The home team still trails by 144 runs and has to see through the last three sessions in the test match today on a wicket which has hardly troubled the batsmen.

Dravid and Gambhir put on 88 runs before Chanaka Welegedara trapped Dravid LBW and television replays showed the ball could have just brushed the leg stump.

Virender Sehwag played in his typical attacking style with wicketkeeper Jayawardene dropping him off a no-ball in Welegedara first over. Dammika Prasad found the edge of Sehwag's bat in the next over, but it flew between the first slip and the wicketkeeper to the boundary.

Sehwag paid for his aggressiveness when he gave a skier to Angelo Mathews at mid-on soon after completely his half century off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath in the last session.

Three days

Earlier, former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene (275) stretched his innings across three days after Sri Lanka resumed at the overnight 591-5 before the declaration came after lunch. He faced 435 balls and hit 27 boundaries and a six in his 275.

The duo broke the world record when Mahela reverse swept Sehwag for a single soon after lunch as Indian bowlers' barren run continued for three sessions.

Australia's Don Bradman and Jack Fingleton held the previous record of 346 runs -- made against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1937.

Soon after breaking the world record, leg-spinner Mishra finally broke the partnership -- in his 54th over of the innings -- when he had Mahela clean bowled. The batsman tried to play the leg-spinner over extra cover but missed the line of the ball completely in a rare loss of concentration.

Mahela also completed 9,000 runs in test matches and now holds three world-record batting partnerships -- third wicket with Kumar Sangakkara (against South Africa) and fourth wicket with Thilan Samaraweera (against Pakistan).

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jayawardene (154 not out) notched the best score by a No. 7 Sri Lankan player in a test. He hit 11 boundaries in his 314-ball knock before Sri Lankan declared when Prasad holed out in the deep. Prasanna, 84 overnight, completed his century when he guided paceman Ishant Sharma to the third man boundary and showed a remarkable patience on a wicket which still looks good for batting.


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