August 8, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis and debutant Dammika Prasad restricted India to a modest first innings score of 249 in the third and final Test here on Friday despite a defiant last-wicket stand. Unorthodox spinner Mendis finished with 5-56 and paceman Prasad with 3-82 as India were bowled out in the last session of the opening day after winning the toss on a good batting wicket.
India slipped from 151-3 to 198-9 before Zaheer Khan (32) and Ishant Sharma (17 not out) frustrated Sri Lanka with a 51-run partnership for the last wicket, the joint-highest stand of the innings.
Fast bowler Sharma then returned to dismiss Malinda Warnapura before Sri Lanka reached 14-1 in reply at stumps.
Michael Vandort was unbeaten on three and nightwatchman Chaminda Vaas had yet to open his account.
Left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir was the only specialist batsman to give a good account of himself, top-scoring with a solid 72 for his third successive half-century.
He hit 10 fours before falling leg-before to Mendis.
“It is a fantastic pitch to bat on. There was hardly anything for bowlers. It is just that we did not bat well. We should have scored more runs,” said Gambhir.