India edge out Lanka by three runs in high-scoring thriller | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India edge out Lanka by three runs in high-scoring thriller

Records tumbled as India romped to 414 for 7, their highest ODI total but the numbers were forgotten as those who watched were sucked in by the thrill and intensity of a high-scoring contest in which individual brilliance shone through. Bivabasu Kumar reports.

cricket Updated: Dec 16, 2009 00:31 IST
Bivabasu Kumar

India survived a Sri Lankan scare before escaping to a three-run victory in a modern classic at Rajkot. Records tumbled as India romped to 414 for 7, their highest ODI total but the numbers were forgotten as those who watched were sucked in by the thrill and intensity of a high-scoring contest in which individual brilliance shone through.

Even India’s 414 was made to look pedestrian as Sri Lanka came close to knocking off the runs in a chase that is the stuff of dreams.

Sent in, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar raised a tornado that swept away the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Sehwag clinically deconstructed the seamers, foiling their attempt to make use of early moisture in the pitch. There was a hint of movement off the track in the first six overs, but Sehwag’s start forced Kumar Sangakkara to spread his fielders far and wide. Sehwag began his slugfest in the third ball of the first over when he drilled Nuwan Kulasekara through point for four. He smashed 17 fours and six sixes in his102-ball 146 and Tendulkar scored a quickfire 69. There was good carry and bounce and the duo played several shots on the rise. Sehwag brought up his fifty with a stunning pull off Chanaka Welegedara and from 50 in 8.3 overs India sailed to 100 in just 15 overs. Tendulkar employed upper cuts against Dilhara Fernando’s bouncers and brought about India’s 100 and his fifty in the same over off similar shots.

Angelo Mathews was greeted with a four over mid off and Sehwag plundered 18 runs in his first over. The duo stitched
together 153 runs before Fernando bowled Tendulkar.

Dhoni seized the hour and walked out at one drop, adding insult to Sri Lankan injury with a withering 72 to add 156 runs for the second wicket with Sehwag.

But Sri Lanka refused to give in. Openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga began with fury. The duo scored at more than eight runs an over and got to 100 in just 12 overs. There was hardly any assistance for the bowlers and Dilshan was most severe, playing almost ever shot in the book, including the “Dilscoop” that seemed to rattle India’s resolve. At 158 without loss from 20 overs, Sri Lanka looked comfortably placed with Dilshan bringing up his fourth ODI hundred. But Suresh Raina produced the first breakthrough when Dhoni stumped Tharanga after a slight fumble.

Sangakkara’s entry reinforced Sri Lanka’s chase as he kept the run rate up with a 43-ball 90, hitting five sixes and ten fours. Sri Lanka were assisted once again by butterfingered fielding as both Dilshan and Sangakkara were given lives.

Though India pulled back with four quick wickets, Sri Lanka continued their march towards the target. At 401 in the 49th over, Thilina Kadamby’s run out proved a crucial. Finally, 11 runs were needed in the final over when Mathews’ run out helped India clinch the thriller.