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Rampaging India win in a canter

Powered by Pathan's devastating spell of seam and Sachin's blitzkrieg, India beat Lanka by eight wkts. Full Scorecard

india Updated: Oct 30, 2005 18:48 IST

One would run the risk of being seen as a man in extreme haste if he dares to suggest that Indian cricket has finally come out of the woods. However, one can't but help think on those lines after the Men in Blue thrashed Sri Lanka with the same ease as they did at Nagpur in the Videocon series.

And it's just not the results that point towards the renaissance of Indian cricket but the clinical precision with which the hosts vanquished the visitors, ranked next only to Australia in one-day cricket. On Friday, India bundled out Sri Lanka for a meagre 122. In reply, India raced to the target in just 20.2.overs for the loss of two wickets.

The protagonists in this triumph were Irfan Pathan and Sachin Tendulkar. While Irfan Pathan demolished the Lankan innings, the little champion stroked a blistering half-century to seal the win for India.

It seems, the left arm seamer can't put a wrong foot forward these days. He blasted a match-winning 83 when pushed up the order at Nagpur; and today he wrecked havoc with the ball. The youngster got down to business immediately after Rahul Dravid threw the ball to him after winning another good toss.

Pathan got Sanath Jayasuriya in his very first over. That set the tone for the rest of the Lankan innings. He sent down eight overs on the trot and returned with a four-wicket haul to put the Lankans on the mat. Sensing the opportunity, the other bowlers rose to the occasion. The Lankans just could not recover from Jayasuriya's loss and came crashing down like a house of cards in 35.4 overs.

Incidentally, this was the lowest total at this venue. After getting rid of Jayasuriya, Irfan accounted for Mahela Jayawardene, Kumara Sangakkara and Dilshan in quick time.

Meanwhile, Agarkar sent Atapattu back to reduce Lanka to a miserable 54 for five. Having done the damage beyond repair, Pathan and Agarkar made way for JP Yadav and Harbhajan. They carried ahead the good work done by the opening bowlers to pick up two wickets each and the Lankan innings folded up in quick time.

Without taking the credit away from the Indian bowlers, there is no denying that the Lankans played poor cricket and fell to ordinary strokes. None failed to stay at the crease on a track which looked good for batting.

And that's what the Sachin-Sehwag duo showed, as they put on a blistering 80-run stand for the first wicket.

The pair fired on all cylinders and gave the crowd something to cheer about in what had so far been a very drab affair. While Sehwag played in his usual cavalier fashion, it was again Sachin Tendulkar who enthralled the huge crowd with his new-found aggression. There were no nudges and pushes. Instead, he matched Sehwag blow for blow and blasted an unbeaten 70 off just 69 balls studded with 12 boundaries.

First Published: Oct 29, 2005 02:04 IST