Colombo: Sachin Tendulkar carried on from where he left off yesterday and brought up his 5th double century in Test matches as India reached 589/5 at tea on day four of the second cricket Test at Colombo on Thursday.
As India close in on the 600 mark they trail Sri Lanka by just 53 runs and still have five wickets intact. Captain cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni also joined the party by scoring a half century.
Earlier Ajantha Mendis got his third wicket of the innings when he dismissed Suresh Raina for 120, who along with Sachin Tendulkar put on 256 runs for the 5th wicket as the second cricket Test between India and Sri Lanka heads towards a tame draw.
India, replying to Sri Lanka’s mammoth 642-4 declared, carried their overnight total of 382-4 to 477 without further loss by lunch on the fourth day at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Tendulkar and Raina, who came together on Wednesday afternoon with India struggling at 241-4, have so far added 236 runs for the fifth wicket on a pitch still favouring stroke-making.
Left-hander Raina went to lunch unbeaten on 112, becoming the ninth Indian to score a century in his first Test, while Tendulkar was on a masterly 152 not out.
Tendulkar, the world’s leading run-getter, equalled West Indian Brian Lara’s record of 19 scores of 150 plus. Australian legend Don Bradman did it on 18 occasions. Raina, 23, already a veteran of 98 one-day internationals, was awarded his Test cap only after Yuvraj Singh reported sick on the opening day of the match.
He has so far hit two sixes and 11 boundaries, reaching the landmark with a fluent off-drive against seamer Dammika Prasad that raced to the fence.
Sri Lanka missed the wicket-taking abilities of the retired Muttiah Muralitharan and injured fast bowler Lasith Malinga as the young crop of bowlers failed to contain the Indians.
Debutant off-spinner Suraj Randiv and unorthodox slow bowler Ajantha Mendis, who dismissed two batsmen each on the third day, went wicketless on the fourth morning. Randiv has so far conceded 159 runs from 49 overs, while Mendis has given away 98 runs in 28 overs.
Muralitharan and Malinga claimed 15 of the 20 Indian wickets in the first Test in Galle last week, which Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.