India cruise to six wicket win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Sri Lanka v India
Player:MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, SK Raina, G Gambhir, M Muralitharan, BAW Mendis, KC Sangakkara, ST Jayasuriya
Event:India in Sri Lanka 2008/09

DateLine: 28th January 2009


India cruised to a six wicket win to take the lead in the five match one day series. Set a target of 247 in 50 overs India reached the target in the 49th over. Never at any stage were there any sign of panic and Dhoni deserves credit for nudging the singles. Gambhir and Raina were positive at the top, Yuvraj didn't get bogged down by the spinners and importantly, India took advantage of the fact that the opposition attack enough that lost its edge once Mendis and Murali lost their fizz.


Jayasuriya and Dilshan opened the innings and Dilshan found himself back in the pavilion in the first over of the innings. Dilshan was run-out trying to go for a single, which Jayasuriya showed interest initially but then turned down. Zaheer Khan bowled a miserly spell where no runs were scored off in his first 17 deliveries, and he gave away only eight runs in that five-over burst. But Jayasuriya targeted Munaf Patel from the other end, taking at least one boundary in the first four of Munaf's overs, not letting the scoring stagnate. Kumar Sangakkara stayed cautious throughout his 44-run stay - a contrast to Jayasuriya who was motoring along. With spin came the shackles, as Pragyan Ojha and Yusuf Pathan bowled accurately using the slow nature of the pitch to clog the boundaries. Jayasuriya broke the 10-over boundary-less spell, hitting Ojha onto the sightscreen, and following it up with a pulled four off Yusuf in the next over. But Sangakkara departed just when Sri Lanka had reached a stage from where one of the two could have gone for an all-out assault.


Jayasuriya played well for his century and he looked completely tired and when the final powerplay was taken as he lobbed a slower full toss from Zaheer Khan to Munaf Patel at mid-off. The batting bar was lowered once again, as Zaheer and Ishant Sharma bowled superbly in the final overs. They used the change of pace to good effect, and Zaheer also managed some late swing. Mahela Jayawardene's struggle continued as only 82 runs were scored in the last 12 overs. The pitch and conditions were not conducive for a fluent ODI knock - oppressively hot and humid, and the track uncharacteristically sluggish. Jayasuriya played a different game from his team-mates was evident: when he got out in the 40th over he had scored 107 in 114 balls, while the rest had managed 64 in 122 deliveries.


India in their reply got off to a shaky start as they lost Tendulkar early when he was adjudged lbw to a preserving Thushara. In the fifth over Kulasekara came out with a brilliant one-handed effort to catch Gambhir’s intended flick, but there was considerable doubt as to whether the catch was taken cleanly. Gambhir benefited from the inconclusive replays and survived, in the next over, Raina cut a short ball from Thushara to Dilshan at point who surprisingly dropped the catch. Both the batsmen made full advantage of their extra lives and went onto score their respective fifties. Both mixed caution with aggression in their innings and just when they were looking for a substantial score both fell at the wrong time and Sri Lanka sensed an opening.


But Yuvraj and Dhoni put to rest that those thought as they methodically gathered their runs hitting the odd boundary at will. Yuvraj was looking good but then an ambitious loft from Yuvraj could only carry to Murali who was placed at long-off. Dhoni was joined by Sharma and then put on unbroken 66 runs to seal the match for India. The satisfying factor of the match for the Indians is that they were able to tackle the combined threat of Murali and Mendis effectively. Mendis was largely ineffective and the pitch was not suited for his type of bowling. Murali though offered some anxious moments for the India batsmen it was not for a sustained period. Once again Jayasuriya was an important factor in the Lankan innings and had he not scored his century the innings would have been in far more worse situation.



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