India on top despite Sehwag heartbreak

MUMBAI, December 4, 2009 (AFP) – Ruthless India left Sri Lanka fighting for survival in the final Test here on Friday after Virender Sehwag missed a world record third triple-century by seven runs. Sehwag’s 293, a robust 100 not out from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a string of half-centuries by the middle order fired the hosts to their highest ever total of 726-9 declared in reply to Sri Lanka’s 393.

The tourists, trailing by 333 runs on the first innings, were 11-0 in their second knock at stumps on the third day on a wearing track at the Brabourne stadium.

Tharanga Paranavitana and Tillakaratne Dilshan survived three overs of spin before close, but Sri Lanka face a daunting task to avoid defeat over the next two days.

India’s total surpassed their previous best of 705-7 declared against Australia at the Sydney cricket ground in January, 2004.

Sehwag had moved from his overnight score of 284 to 293 when he tapped a flighted ball from Muttiah Muralitharan back to the bowler who took the catch on second attempt.

A hush descended at the stadium where some 15,000 home fans had packed the stands anticipating a world record by the swashbuckling opener.

Sehwa