Sri Lanka’s Warnapura keeps India’s attack at bay

July 23, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan opener Malinda Warnapura defied India’s attack with an unbeaten half-century on the opening day of the rain-hit first Test here on Wednesday.

India captain Anil Kumble also pressed Sourav Ganguly and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh into the attack in a bid to get one more wicket, but Warnapura and Jayawardene batted sensibly.

Harbhajan, who recently served a ban for five one-day internationals for slapping India team-mate Shanthakumaran Sreesanth during a domestic Twenty20 match in April, bowled just one over before play was called off.

Sri Lanka’s latest spin sensation Ajantha Mendis made his Test debut, just a few weeks after leading his side to victory with a six-wicket haul against India in the Asia Cup final in Karachi early this month.

The hosts lost two wickets cheaply after electing to bat in overcast conditions, but left-handed Warnapura (50 not out) helped his team reach 85-2 in the first innings at stumps.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene was the other not-out batsman on 16 when play was called off due to bad light with 20 overs remaining. No play was possible before tea because of the rain.

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