India are in a spin

The Sri Lankan bowler Ajantha Mendis took five wickets as they dismissed India for 249 on day one of the third Test.

The Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Prasana Jayawerdane, left, congratulates teammate Ajantha Mendis on his five-wicket haul.
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COLOMBO // Debutant Sri Lankan paceman Dammika Prasad sent India's top order batsmen crashing into submission before spinner Ajantha Mendis claimed a five-wicket haul as the tourists were dismissed for 249 on the opening day of the third and final cricket Test at the P.Saravanamuttu stadium. The 25-year old Prasad first got rid of the dangerous Virender Sehwag for a run-a-ball 21 and then had the wickets of veterans Rahul Dravid for 10 and Sachin Tendulkar for 6, both falling leg-before, to finish with figures of 3 for 82 after India won the toss and decided to bat first. Sri Lanka ended the day at 14 for 1 after losing Malinda Warnapura, who was bowled by lanky paceman Ishant Sharma for 8. Michael Vandort and Chaminda Vaas, who came in as night watchman, saw the remaining overs through without further damage. The Indian openers Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir gave India a flying start, adding 51 in just 7 overs before Prasad struck in the second delivery of his of his fourth over to remove the dangerous Sehwag to a catch behind. But India were reduced to 198 for nine after which Zaheer Khan and Sharma batted for more than a hour to add 51 valuable runs for their team to reach a total of some respectability at the end. Gambhir with a polished 72 put up the only resistance before he became Mendis' first victim. He hit 10 fours in a top score of 72 off 128 deliveries. The Indian middle order once again failed to fire with both Dravid and Tendulkar falling cheaply. Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman failed to build on their starts, the former India captain became Muttiah Muralitharan's first victim after lofting the spinner over the long off fence for six. Prasad, who took the first three wickets in the Indian inning, said it was a great moment to bag the scalp of Tendulkar. "He (Tendulkar) is my greatest batsman and to get him was a big day for me. I just settled down to bowl a good line and length after the initial spell where I concentrated on pace." Gambhir said that India despite being dismissed for 249 was still in the game. "I still think we are very much in the game and a few early wickets in the morning would put us in control. There is lot of cricket left in this match. It is only the first day."