Saturday, August 28, 2010


Continued failure of Indian batting and their indisciplined bowling handed Sri Lanka a one-sided 74-run victory in the triangular series final in Dambulla on Saturday. Indian captain MS Dhoni was the last man dismissed in a 300-run chase after team's batting crumbled under pressure put by the Sri Lankans.

Earlier, Virender Sehwag got run out after brisk 28, while Dinesh Karthik's poor form continued as the Tamil Nadu batsman nicked a leg-side delivery, which seemed to have brushed his thigh pad, to wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara. 

For Sri Lanka, Tillakaratne Dilshan struck a blistering century as the hosts exploited a sloppy bowling display by the Indians to amass an imposing 299 for eight.

Dilshan notched up his eighth ODI century to provide the impetus to the Lankan innings who capitalised on some wayward bowling by the Indians to rattle up a decent score at the Rangiri International stadium.

Captain Kumar Sangakkara (71) and Mahela Jayawardene (39) were the other notable scorers for the hosts who have left India with a stiff asking rate of nearly six runs per over to record their second successive series triumph on Lankan soil in three months.

Electing to bat, it was not a fiery start for the hosts as both the Lankan openers took some time to settle down and opened up gradually to pile up the misery on the visitors. After the first few overs, the Indian bowlers seemed to lose their rhythm and bowled a lot of loose deliveries.

The home crowd had a lot to cheer when Tillakaratne Dilshan hit two cracking fours off Praveen Kumar and Mahela Jayawardene produced a lofted drive off Ashish Nehra in the first few overs.

There was a minor altercation between Dilshan and Munaf Patel, who collided with the batsman in the seventh over, but normalcy was restored after umpire Asad Rauf and Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni intervened and pacified the two players.

Dilshan was more agressive of the two openers, who raised the best opening partnership of the series so far by putting on 121 for the first wicket. Ishant Sharma provided the breakthrough for the visitors by evicting the experienced Mahela Jayawardene (39) with Dinesh Karthik latchinng on to a well-judged catch.

Jayawardene reached forward and tried to wrist a length delivery across the line but only succeeded in spooning a catch to Karthik at the sweeper cover. But his dimssal came only after he had achieved a personal milestone of completing 9000 runs in ODIs, becoming only the third Sri Lankan to achieve the feat after Sanath Jayasuriya (13,428 runs) and Aravinda de Silva (9824 runs).

Part-timer Yuvraj Singh then struck for his team by dismissing Upul Tharanga (6) who edged the ball to captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stump.

After the two quick wickets, Dilshan and captain Kumar Sangakkara re-build the innings by playing cautiously. The duo kept the scoreboard ticking by gentle nudges and pushes before unleashing some exquisite shots on both sides of the wicket.

The two batsmen piled up the runs with ease and with the Indian pacers struggling to check the run flow, the Indians badly missed the services of a specialist fifth bowler. Dilshan, who slowed down in the 90's, took two runs off Ishant to notch up his eighth ODI century and his first on Sri Lankan soil. It was his third ton against India.

Dilshan, however, could not survive for long after completing his century with Ishant Sharma taking a good catch on the boundary line off Praveen Kumar. Munaf Patel then removed Sangakkara with Rohit Sharma taking the catch while Nehra accounted for Chamara Kapugedera (12) to slow down the scoring rate just a bit.

But a series of no-ball, wides and some lusty hitting by the late order batsmen in the slog overs ensured that Sri Lanka had a healthy total.

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