Indians struggle despite Tendulkar’s half-ton

July 19, 2008 (AFP) – Sachin Tendulkar marked his return from injury with a well-made 69 but the rest of the Indian batsmen struggled in a three-day tour match against a Sri Lanka Board XI here on Saturday.

This is the only warm-up game between the sides ahead of the start of the three-Test series on July 23.

India have not won a series in this island nation in 15 years. In reply to the hosts’ first-innings score of 224, the visitors were 196-8 at stumps on the second day of their warm-up tie at the Nondescripts Cricket Club.

Tendulkar, making a return to international cricket after more than three months, proved his match fitness with the 76-ball knock that included eight fours and a six.

The star batsman is just 172 runs short of surpassing West Indies’ Brian Lara as the world’s highest Test run getter.

Tendulkar added 62 runs for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik who looked all set for a Test recall after remaining unbeaten on a patient 58 that came off 105 balls.

But other top-rated Test batsmen including Rahul Dravid (five) and Venkatsai Laxman (zero) flopped against the second-string attack of the hosts who had the Indians on the mat at 80-5 at one stage.