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Clinical Lanka romp to victory

cricket Updated: Feb 12, 2008 12:48 IST
Hindustan Times
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Sri Lanka won the rain-truncated 5th CB Series ODI against India at Canberra by 8 wickets (D/L Method). Tillekaratne Dilshan was the star of the innings for the Lankans, scoring 62 runs off 59 balls. The Lankan win was largely due to a scorching start given by veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya, who dazzled with a 23 off 17 balls.

Chasing a target of 154 in 21 overs, Sri Lanka got off to the best start possible - with Sanath Jayasuriya firing on all cylinders. The left-hander took the attack to the Indian bowlers right from the word go. He first launched himself into a hard-hit drive, that sped off to the boundary and then, there was no stopping him. He gave Sreesanth a massive pasting in his second over, taking him for 23 runs and giving Sri Lanka the impetus to chasing the massive total. That over included a six each, on either side of the wicket - one that was flicked off his pads in typical Jayasuriya style as well as one that was cut ferociously towards third man.

The Indian bowlers struggled to keep up their rhythm while bowling to the pair. Sreesanth looked totally out of sorts, sending a no-ball in the first delivery of the Sri Lankan innings. What followed were a series of extras and some boundary balls indispersed amidst them. Dhoni looked like a captain bereft of ideas and Sreesanth's waywardness only added to his dismay.

However, Ishant Sharma brought an end to Jayasuriya's blitzkrieg, dismissing him for 27 off just 13 balls. Jayasuriya turned a delivery down the leg side and got carried away by the extra bounce at an awkward angle, with the ball cleanly taken by Dhoni. Sri Lanka were 45/1 when he departed.

Tillekaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara then got together to string a partnership. The duo got their eyes in initially and figured in a brief partnership before Sangakkara carelessly threw his wicket away to Harbhajan's first delivery. He made 10. Sangakkara went for the aerial drive, but could only hole out to Ishant Sharma at mid-on, not able to get hold of the shot.

Mahela Jayawardene then came into join Dilshan and the two strung together a partnership that took Sri Lanka home. Dilshan displayed great skill while handling the spinners, using his feet to perfection. He looked perfectly in control of his batting and the skipper wasn't too far behind - rotating the strike at every given opportunity and keeping the scoreboard ticking. Dilshan reached his fifty, a well deserved one off just 47 balls, playing an innings that largely well un-noticed given the damage done by Jayasuriya at the top. The pair got involved in a partnership that would be match-winning for the Sri Lankans, who registered their first win of the tournament.

Jayawardene would hit the winning runs, a dab to mid-wicket and the result firmly secured. India's fielding was below-par to say the least. On the other hand, their counterparts kept the total to 20-30 runs lesser than what it might have been, thanks to their brilliant effort on the field - saving runs at every given opportunity.

Sri Lanka will now look to carry the momentum against Australia when the two sides meet on Friday.

Earlier, India ended their first innings at 195/5 from their alloted 29 overs. Rohit Sharma top scored with a fine unbeaten 70, while a late charge from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who scored 31 off 26 task catalysed India to the total.

Earlier, India started off on a brisk note with the opening partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag adding 45 runs. Tendulkar did the bulk of the scoring and looked in complete control against the Sri Lankan bowlers. He timed the ball well and placed it through gaps for boundaries. Sehwag was the first Indian wicket to fall at 45, with Nuwan Kulasekara snapping him for 14. Kulasekara banged it in short and Sehwag opened the face of the bat to play the up and over shot to third man, where Muralitharan was stationed and pouched a neat regulation catch.

Next to follow was Sachin Tendulkar in Maharoof's first over. Tendulkar looked to go aerial with a drive over long-on. The ball went off the base of the bat and flew away to deep third man and the fielder picked up a good running catch. India, 49/2. After Tendulkar's wicket, the new batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma took their time to settle into the innings and the run-rate dipped. However, they opened up after stringing together a handy partnership and Gambhir looked the more aggressive partner. Their partnership was composed of cheekily taken singles and decisive running between the wickets. Gambhir played Muttiah Muralitharan with skill and aplomb before perishing for 31. The duo strung together a partnership of 64, before it was ended by a superb run-out from Dilshan.

His mix-up with Rohit Sharma resulted in a run-out with India on the verge of opening themselves. Sharma hit the ball fine to point. Gambhir set off immediately and was stranded half-way down the track. Dilshan threw the ball back to Lasith Malinga, who reverse-flicked the ball cleanly on to the stumps. India, 113/3.

Skipper Dhoni joined the well-set Sharma and got on with it right from ball one. Sharma, in the meanwhile kept going at his own pace, playing cheeky dabs over short-fine leg to fast bowlers. He even smacked a huge six over deep mid-wicket off Muralitharan. Sharma reached his fifty in 53 balls. After Dhoni got set, he took charge of the proceedings, hammering 12 runs off a Maharoof over. Dhoni ultimately perished for 31 off 26 balls, again a run-out trying to go for the extra run - only to be done in by a good throw from Kapugedara.

Yuvraj couldnt do much except smacking a cracking boundary off a full-toss in his first ball, but perished soon after - trying to check his shot at the last moment before scooping it to Muralitharan at mid-off. Sharma, was unbeaten on 70 off just 64 balls as India ended their innings at 195/5.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to field on a wicket that looked like having something for the bowlers early on. The wicket is expected to ease out later in the day with the sun beating on the surface. India went unchanged from Sunday's winning combination, while Sri Lanka dropped opener Upul Tharanga for Farveez Maharoof. Rookie-paceman Ishara Amarasinghe also made way for Nuwan Kulasekara.

The Manuka Oval hosted its second ever ODI but most of the morning was spent under the clouds due to heavy overnight showers. Rains threatened a washout of the tie between India and Sri Lanka, but with the weather improving after three and a half hours since the scheduled start of play, the cricket is set to begin.

New playing conditions are in play for this game - with each team playing 29 overs each. The first powerplay would be 6 overs, the second for 3 overs and the third for 2 overs. Four bowlers can bowl six overs each and one bowler will bowl the other five.

Brief Scores:

India innings (29 overs maximum)
V. Sehwag c Muralitharan b Kulasekara 14, S. Tendulkar cKulasekara b Maharoof 32, G. Gambhir run out 35, R. Sharma not out 70, M.S. Dhoni run out 31, Y. Singh c Muralitharan b Malinga 6, R. Uthappa not out 0
Extras (1lb, 6w) 7
Total (for five wickets) 195
FOW: 45 (Sehwag), 49 (Tendulkar), 113 (Gambhir), 181 (Dhoni), 192 (Y. Singh)
Bowling: Vaas 6-1-39-0, Malinga 6-0-45-1, Maharoof 6-0-33-1, Kulasekara 6-0-41-1, Muralitharan 5-0-36-0 (6w)

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