India edge out Lanka by three runs in high-scoring thriller
India posted their highest-ever one-day total of 414 but a rampaging Sri Lanka very nearly pulled off a sensational victory before losing their way in the fag end to give the hosts a narrow three-run victory in a high-scoring thriller in Rajkot on Tuesday. Full Coveragecricket Updated: Dec 16, 2009 00:30 IST
India posted their higest-ever one-day total of 414 but a rampaging Sri Lanka very nearly pulled off a sensational victory before losing their way in the fag end to give the hosts a narrow three-run victory in a high-scoring thriller in Rajkot on Tuesday.
After the Indians rattled up 414 of 7 built around Virender Sehwag's 146, Tillkaratne Dilshan (160) and Kumar Sangakkara (90 off 43 balls) launched a ruthless assault but the Indian bowlers held their nerve to eventually scamper home and give the home team a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
The Madhav Rao Scindia stadium turned out to be a batting paradise with over 825 runs being scored and India would consider themselves a trifle lucky to escape with a win despite the sloppy fielding and the erratic bowling.
It was only the second time that more than 800 runs were scored in a one-day match. The match between Australia and
South Africa in Johannesburg in 2006 had produced 872 runs which is the highest so far.
The islanders needed 22 runs off 19 balls with five wickets intact in the tense dying moments of the game but Angelo Mathews and Thilina Kandamby got a little jittery and were unable to take their team to victory. The Lankans scored
411 for eight.
Apart from Sehwag's blistering knock, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (72) and Sachin Tendulkar (69) were the other
notable contributors in India's record total.
The Indians were guilty of dropping three catches, two of them sitters, and the ground fielding also left much to be
desired. They had dropped as many as ten catches in the two Twenty matches.
The two teams will now travel to Nagpur for the second game to be played under flooodlights on Friday. The Lankan run chase began with a flourish as the two openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga (67) tore the Indian bowling attack to shreds on a good batting strip.
None of the Indians bowlers could manage to stop the run flow in the early stages as both the batsmen unleashed a barrage of strokes.
Tharanga got a reprieve when he was on ten with Virat Kohli dropping a sitter at the point region much to the dismay
of his teammates who have suddenly developed the habit of dropping catches far too often.
Dilshan and Tharanga put on a rollicking 188-run opening partnership to provide the flatform for the mammoth run chase.
Part-timer Suresh Raina provided the breakthrough when Tharanga stepped out but missed the line and Dhoni whipped off
the bails behind the stumps.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara joined the action after Tharanga's dismissal and immediately got into the act by going
after the bowlers with a fine exhibition of strokeplay.
Sangakkara notched up his 50th half century in quick time as the two experienced player brought the asking rate
down and took the islanders closer to the victory target.
The lankan captain seemed to be in ominous form and was nearing his century when he mistimed his pull and Ravindra
Jadeja held on to a simple catch at the fence off Pravin Kumar. His 90 came off just 43 balls and contained ten fours
and five sixes.
The vastly experienced Sanath Jayasuriya, who came in at the number four slot, did not survive long as he fell to
Harbhajan struck a vital blow in his last over by getting rid of Dilshan, who stepped out but missed the line completely
to see his off-stump knocked down.
Mahela Jayawardene was run out a couple of overs later and Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother as they slipped to 345
for five from a comfortable 316 for one.
Earlier, India surpassed their previous best total of 413 for five which they made against Bermuda at Port of Spain
during the 2007 World Cup.
Sehwag, who took a heavy toll of the Lanka bowlers in the Tests, was unstoppable after a cautious beginning and made a
career-best 146 in just 102 balls with 17 fours and six.
Sehwag and Tendulkar, who played the perfect foil to make a fine 63-ball 69 with 10 fours and a six before being bowled
by Dilhara Fernando, laid a solid foundation with a 153-run partnership after Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara opted to
field first on winning the toss.
After Tendulkar’s departure in the 20th over, Sehwag and Dhoni (72 off 63 balls) got involved in a splendid 156-run
partnership for the second wicket to take India past the 300-mark in the 35th over.