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India look to consolidate lead in second ODI

A confident India, riding on a resurgence in form of Sachin and Dravid, will look to build on the 1-0 lead when they lock horns against Lanka on Friday.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2005 12:06 IST

A confident India, riding on a resurgence in form of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, will look to build on the 1-0 lead in the one-day series against Sri Lanka when they lock hornson Friday.

Everything went well for India in their 152-run win over Marvan Atapattu's side in the first match at Nagpur on Tuesday as Dravid won the first match in his new stint as the India captain.

On the other hand, a strong Sri Lanka, who had beaten India in four successive matches before Nagpur, looked surprisingly out of depth. They now need to come up with a much improved showing in the day-night encounter at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium here to draw level.

Sri Lanka, touring India for the first time since 1999, will be extra keen to gain parity quickly so that the seven-match series becomes exciting.

The momentum is, however, with India and the win has also made coach Greg Chappell a happy man. It was India's first match under Chappell at home since he took over in May.

India have now won 18 of the 27 one-dayers against Sri Lanka played at home, with the islanders winning eight and the remaining solitary encounter ending in a 'no result'.

Overall, India have won 42 of the 83 matches and Sri Lanka 34, with seven matches producing 'no result'.

It is time for India to avenge two successive defeats in tournament finals at the hands of Sri Lanka - the Asia Cup in August last year and the Indian Oil Triangular this August, both in Colombo. On both occasions the captain was Sourav Ganguly, now out of the team for the first two one-dayers due to injury and lack of form.

Under new captain Dravid, India made an ideal start to the series onTuesday.

The gains from Nagpur were Tendulkar's swashbuckling 93 on his return to international cricket after an elbow injury, Dravid's Man-of-the-Match performance of an unbeaten 85 and astute captaincy, Irfan Pathan's career highest 83 and fine bowling by Harbhajan Singh.

Barring Virender Sehwag, all top order batsmen scored Tuesday. Now it is the turn of the Delhi man to come good. But there are no alarms about Sehwag's form as three matches earlier he hit a fine 75 against New Zealand in Zimbabwe last month.

Interestingly, Sehwag, who made a forgettable one-day debut in 1999, has played 129 one-dayers thus far but has just appeared once at this venue in one-dayers.

The 27-year-old would like to erase the memory of scoring a solitary run in his first match, against Pakistan, when he takes guard at this ground.

Tendulkar, who first tested his right troublesome elbow in a match situation here in the Challenger Trophy 15 days ago, would be playing his 350th one-dayer and he would like to mark the occasion with a special innings.

Like his opening partner Sehwag, Tendulkar also does not often turn out at the PCA Stadium, having scored 65 runs in two matches.

For Dravid, the birth of a son has brought good luck. The child was born October 11. Three days later Dravid was appointed captain for the seven-match series against Sri Lanka and the five matches that follow against South Africa at home.

He celebrated the double joy on Tuesday with his seventh half-century in 18 matches as India captain. His 63-ball unbeaten 85 is his second highest score as India captain, the highest being 86 against Pakistan at Kanpur in April.

He won the Man of the Match prize, his 10th in one-dayers, for his innings and captaincy.

Pathan was another gainer as he smashed his career highest score after being sent in as the pinch hitter at No.3. It was the first time he had batted so high in the order and exceeded all expectations as he plundered 84 off 70 balls.

Harbhajan, under the microscope of Chappell for losing his wicket-taking ability at the start of the season, also looked to be gaining his rhythm with a three-wicket haul -- his best performance in 19 previous one-dayers.

On the other hand, there was little consolation for Sri Lanka as both its batting and bowling departments flopped.

Experienced bowlers like pacer Chaminda Vaas and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan were carted at will by the Indians.

Only wicket-keeper Kumara Sangakkara looked like matching the Indian bowling to an extent, with a quick fire 43, before falling to Sehwag.

There was personal consolation for veteran Sanath Jayasuriya, who scored 27 and took his career aggregate to 10,149 runs in 340 matches, surpassing deposed captain Sourav Ganguly's 10,123 in 279 matches.

The left-hander is now third after Tendulkar's 13,735 in 349 matches and Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq's 10,971 in 347 in one-dayers.

Teams

India: Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Y. Venugopal Rao, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Jai Prakash Yadav, Rudra Pratap Singh and Sreesanth.

Sri Lanka: Marvan Atapattu (captain), Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wicket-keeper), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Chaminda Vaas, Upul Chandana, Farveez Maharoof, Russel Arnold, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Lokuhettige and Nuwan Zoysa.

Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and A.V. Jayaprakash (India)

Television umpire: I. Shivram (India)

Match referee: Alan Hurst (Australia)

First Published: Oct 27, 2005 11:49 IST