Wayward India bowlers allow Lanka a free run | india | Hindustan Times
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Wayward India bowlers allow Lanka a free run

india Updated: Jul 03, 2013 04:02 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Mahela Jayawardene

India failed to get an early breakthrough as Sri Lanka rode on the silken touch of Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga to stitch a record 200-run opening partnership in quick time and put the recently-crowned Champions Trophy winners on the backfoot.

In the process, Jayawardene also reached his 16th ODI century off just 107 balls.

Things looked grim for India as they seemed to run out of ideas on a pitch that had something in it for the first hour but they didn't have the bowlers to exploit the conditions.

On his debut as India captain, Virat Kohli, dropped Bhuvneshw-ar Kumar in favour of Shami Ahmed, who hasn't played an international since his 1/46 against England in Dharamsala on January 27.

The Bengal pacer showed promise in his opening spell but Umesh Yadav was wayward from the other end.

Virat, who made his Test debut here two years ago, imitated MS Dhoni by deciding to bowl but the experienced Jayawardene kept him at bay by milking the ball through the gaps. Barring Ishant Sharma, who drew Tharanga forward and even sneaked one through his defence with a shorter ball, the India bowlers were ineffective.

R Ashwin stuck to a leg-side line and even Ravindra Jadeja, who had turned and gripped the ball in the cold conditions of England, did not get as much purchase. In between his elegant drives and cuts, Jayawardene also tried to bat Jadeja out of the bowling by reverse sweeping him.

It almost got Jadeja the wicket India needed but Murali Vijay, in for Dhoni, dropped the simple offering at short third man with Sri Lanka at 57 in the 13th over.

Undeterred, Jayawardene reverse flicked Jadeja again, this time getting his placement right and away from third man.

The Sri Lankan could have again been in trouble in the 16th over but Umesh failed to react to Jayawardene's pull and conceded four runs at deep fine leg.

Add to this were the freak injuries to Suresh Raina, when he rolled over the ball, and Virat, whose boot spikes got stuck in the grass causing a nasty fall, and India were looking down the barrel even before the Sri Lanka innings had been completed.