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Delhi boys sink Lankan ship

india Updated: Mar 14, 2012 01:51 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das


At one point it looked like India's woes would be given an extended run. Even 304 looked gettable when Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne were settling down after Mahela Jayawardene's blistering start.

But two wickets each in two overs by R Ashwin and Vinay Kumar made sure the good work done by Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli did not go in vain. India got their Asia Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 50-run demolition of Sri Lanka at the Sher e Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.

In a city of 16 million, only around 10,000 seemed interested to come and watch whether Sachin Tendulkar would get to his landmark 100th century here. The Little Master left early, leaving the motley crowd so disappointed that a chunk of them went home. But then they missed India's most successful batting duo from the recent CB Series Down Under - Gambhir and Kohli - display artistry.

Big stand
The Delhi duo stitched together a 205-run partnership for the second wicket to lay the platform for fireworks by MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina towards the end of the innings. This is the second time Kohli has scored back-to-back centuries in ODIs. The first instance was in the build up to the World Cup when he scored centuries against Australia and New Zealand in Visakhapatnam and Guwahati. The one on Tuesday follows his blitz against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Gambhir and Kohli were quick to realise that the greenish tinge on the wicket was eyewash just as Sri Lanka skipper Jayawardene must have been foxed when he opted to field. The grass did not help the new balls come on to the bat initially and rotating the strike was the most sensible option.

Ashwin, now Dhoni's trump card in the Powerplays, dismissed the set pair of Sangakkara and Thirimanne in the same over to trigger panic in the Sri Lanka camp. The disappointment in the former Sri Lanka skipper's face was proof that it would become the turning point of the match.

Vinay Kumar then dismissed Nuwan Kulasekara and Chamara Kapugedera off successive deliveries to make Sri Lanka miss the injured Angelo Mathews in the middle order even more. Irfan Pathan carried the confidence gained on his comeback in Australia and finished India's most successful and economical bowler.

The timely dismissals of Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga showed despite being military medium, his ability to move the ball could have batsmen in trouble even in the subcontinent, especially in these days of two new balls.