Dhoni ignites cracker of a win for India
He became the highest scoring wicket keeper batsman in the world as India thrash Lanka by six wickets. Full ScorecardUpdated: Nov 03, 2005 09:47 IST
The Pink City celebrated Diwali a day in advance as buccaneering Mahendra Singh Dhoni (183 not out) lit up the Sawai Man Singh Stadium with some scintillating fireworks to power India tame Sri Lanka by six wickets in the third game of the seven-match series on Monday.
Man of the match, Dhoni's unbeaten 183 is the highest by a wicketkeeper in one-day internationals, eclipsing Adam Gilchrist's 172 against Zimbabwe.
Dhoni joins Sourav Ganguly as the Indian with second highest score in the shorter version of the game. Ganguly had scored 183 against Sri Lanka in Taunton, 1999. Sachin Tendulkar's 186 not out against New Zealand remains the highest score by an Indian.
Dhoni's 145-ball blitzkrieg included 16 boundaries and 10 sixes.
It was stumpers' day out on Monday with Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara also hitting a ton but eventually Dhoni ended up on the winning side while Sangakkara was left to rue his luck.
With this victory, India lead the series 3-0 and Sri Lanka is now left with the Herculean task of winning the remaining four matches to pocket the series.
After the hosts were set a target just one shy of 300, the first over from Chaminda Vaas had five deliveries separating ecstasy and agony. Virender Sehwag began with a boundary as the 27,000-odd audience rose to its feet. Four balls later, Vaas sent groans across the stadium when Sachin Tendulkar (2) took a wild swipe at a delivery wide of the off stump and a flying Sangakkara landed with the edge in his safe hands, leaving India at seven for one.
However, a swashbuckling Dhoni more than made up for that as he unleashed an array of breathtaking shots.
The hard-hitting batsman hocked Vaas for two sixes and then straight drove Farveez Mahroof for the same treatment, following it with a smashing cover drive in the over. He hit out at Mahroof again in the ninth over for a couple of boundaries, one a full-blooded pull and another a rasping straight drive.
It took Dhoni 60 balls to complete an entertaining half century, which was studded with six hits to the fence and three sixes.
But just before the score reached 100, India lost the vital wicket of Sehwag who misread a Muttiah Muralitharan doosra and the wily offie foxed him, getting his rear leg plumb in front. Sehwag yet again failed to convert his start and perished for 39 that came off 37 balls with three boundaries after stitching together a 92-run partnership with Dhoni.
Dhoni seemed unperturbed by his partner's dismissal as he swept an Upul Chandana delivery over square leg for yet another six. Joining him in the middle, Rahul Dravid kept the scoreboard ticking and Dhoni raced to his second ODI century in just 85 balls that was peppered with 10 boundaries and five sixes.
Playing second fiddle to Dhoni, Dravid (28) too was outwitted by Muralitharan and the Indian captain had no clue as he offered the offie a simple catch off his own bowling.
Yuvraj showed sparks of his class, hitting Vaas for two boundaries in the 33rd over, which included a trademark flick off his pad but Tillakratne Dilshan got the better of his defence to sent him back.
Venugopal Rao (19) stepped out to hit Dilshan over long on to show his aggression and square cut Mahroof for a boundary in the next over. Both the batsmen played with consummate ease to see the team through.
And it was just befitting that Dhoni fetched the winning runs with a huge six.
Earlier, smarting from back-to-back drubbings in Nagpur and Mohali, Sri Lanka played to a plan on Monday and paced their innings well to pile up 298 for four, their highest total in the series, which was also the highest score in the ground but the record did not last long.
Trailing 0-2 in the seven-match series, the visitors had a lot at stake and they must have had a number of brainstorming sessions to solve the riddle about their dismal show in the first two matches.
Atapattu won the toss for the first time in the series and elected to bat on a 22-yard featherbed, which had nothing to offer to the bowlers. The visiting side's top order played pedestrian cricket but that was part of the team strategy to have enough wickets in hand, even though it resulted into unproductive power plays, and then go after the Indian bowlers at later stages. And the ploy paid off as the Lankans threatened to go past the 300-run mark.
Kumar Sangakkara has been leading from the front when it comes to batting and Monday's match was no exception as the southpaw (138 not out) forged an invaluable 151-run partnership for the third wicket with Mahela Jayawardene (71) while Farveez Mahroof (33 off 16 balls) provided the late burst.
In the third over, Irfan Pathan did manage to lure Sangakkara to a miss hit but the ball went over Murali Kartik before the latter could react.
India got the first breakthrough when Ajit Agarkar won a personal battle with Sanath Jayasuriya (15) when the Lankan drove onto his stumps after hitting the pacer for a boundary and then surviving two successive lbw appeals.
Apprehending yet another batting collapse, Sangakkara and Atapattu (17) dropped anchor as the run rate took a nosedive. But Atapattu could not wriggle out of his poor form and edged JP Yadav to perish caught behind, leaving Lanka at 77 for two.
Jayawardene and Sangakkara took the centre stage and the duo guided the side to 100 in 20.3 overs. Replacing Harbhajan, Virender Sehwag almost had Jayawardene in his first over when the Lankan middle order bat went for a square cut but Yuvraj Singh's spectacular effort at point saw the ball slipping out of his grab.
Tormentor for the visitors in the last two matches, Harbhajan Singh could not leave his mark on Monday. Changing ends could not make any difference even though the offie was economic in his bowling.
Desperate for a breakthrough, Dravid introduced Sachin Tendulkar from the pavilion end only to see him hit for a six by Sangakkara who subsequently went on to complete his fourth ODI ton, first against India, off 123 balls with eight boundaries.
The Lankan stumper miscued a shot off Yadav in the 43rd over but poor anticipation by Venugopal Rao at mid on saw the opportunity going abegging.
Meanwhile, Jayawardene's 70-ball knock of 71 came to an end when he stepped out to hit Agarkar but the Indian kept it short, forcing him to slice it to third man where Sehwag completed a simple catch.
Jayawardene hit 10 boundaries in his belligerent knock. With Sangakkara, he had put on 151 runs for the third wicket in just 141 balls to put some beef into the Lankan innings.
Sehwag finally got something to cheer about when Tillakratne Dilshan (3) went for a sweep and the delivery hit his rear leg, plumb in front. Sri Lanka promoted Farveez Mahroof (33) after Dilshan's exit and the move paid off as the lanky Lankan went after the Indian bowlers. His 16-ball quickfire included four boundaries and a six while Sangakkara remained unbeaten on 138 off 147 balls and the knock was studded with 13 boundaries and two sixes.
While in the previous matches Sri Lanka was no match at all for the hosts, the visitors tried to make it a contest in Jaipur and that's the only positive thing Atapattu's side would be returning with.
First Published: Nov 01, 2005 00:53 IST