Sri Lanka seal their second win
by Rohit Sakunia

Ground:Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Scorecard:India v Sri Lanka
Player:UWMBCA Welagedara, V Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, KC Sangakkara, TT Samaraweera
Event:Idea Cup 2009/10

DateLine: 7th January 2010


The dew became the villain for the side fielding second as the Indian bowlers were rendered impotent to create any sort of impression on the Lankan batsmen. Though the Indian batsmen did well to make a competitive total of 279 the bowlers failed the side as Sri Lanka comfortably chased down the target.


Earlier having decided to expectedly field first after winning the toss, the Lankans drew first blood when Gambhir fell, unable to keep a yorker from Chanaka Welegedara away from disturbing his leg-stump. Virender Sehwag though continued to play in his characteristic manner flaying all bowlers to all parks of the ground.


After picking up a boundary of Welegedara's opening over, Sehwag got behind Lakmal hitting him for three fours in an over. Virat Kohli also joined in with a lovely straight drive as the duo raised the team 50 in just the seventh over. The next two overs though from Welegadera changed the game as first in an eventful over, Kohli fell trying to glide one down to the third man region, only to find Sangakkara's gloves. Then in the next over Sehwag, who in the previous over from the bowler had scythed two off-side fours, was caught at mid-off by Lahiru Thirimanne.


From here in began the consolidation and the men in the middle were the best India could have hoped for. The side who had 76 from the first Powerplay, could only manage 13 from the bowling one as the bowlers kept a leash on the new batsmen. Both Yuvraj and Dhoni kept hitting the occasional fours but credit must be given to Suraj Randiv who got sharp turn and bowled at the best of places to keep a tab on both the attacking players.


It was difficult though to keep Yuvraj under control for too long. Seeing Sangakkara's dependence on part-timers after Muthumudalige Pushpakumara went off injured, the left-hander started to cash-in. The first victim became Thilan Samaraweera who was pulled for four but the special treatment remained for Kandamby. The part-time leggie was smacked for two consecutive sixes as the Southpaw reached his half-century. This was the stage when it had started to look that the Indians would cross the 300 mark but just then against the run of play Thissara Perara, who had walked in the side because of Chamara Silva's absence broke the partnership scalping the Indian skippers wicket. Soon after, a miscued pull off the same bowler cut short Yuvraj's knock as India once again had a situation in their hands.


Another few overs of consolidation followed before the powerplay was taken in the 43rd over. The first of those yielded 14 and the next one from Thushara gave Indians 20 runs. With this the impetus was back but just as has been the story of the day, Sri Lanka struck back again, with Welegedara castling Raina and Zaheer Khan. Harbhajan didn't do his batting abilities any good getting out playing a hideous stroke to point. By this time any thoughts of the total getting past 300 was well buried and with Jadeja getting out in the final over, India did well to push past 275.


Sri Lanka in rely did not have things easy as the Indian seam bowlers were right on target as nothing was given away easily. Tharanga and the new opener Lahiru Thirimanne looked completely lost against Nehra while Zaheer and Sreesanth struggled for consistency. Nehra could consider himself to be unlucky as he beat the bats several times and also nearly cleaned up both the left handers on several occasions only for the ball to miss the stumps by just a whisker. Sreesanth finally got the breakthrough India when Thirimanne played an ill-advised pull shot only to lob it up to Gambhir at midwicket to take the skier. Harbhajan terminated Tharanga’s stay when the batsman chipped a simple catch back to the offie. Samaraweera came in to join his skipper Sangakkara and the two set about repairing the innings with some clever batting.


The pair did not rely on power hitting but relied on deft touches, late cuts and clever placements to keep the scoreboard moving. As the ball headed towards the outfield it got soaked more and the bowlers found it difficult to grip the ball properly. The pair added 122 runs in 20.4 overs before disaster struck as Sangakkara slapped an innocuous delivery from Harbhajan Singh straight to Raina at covers. The Indian bowlers did well to restrict the Lankan batsmen as panic set in. Kandamby played an ill-advised slog of Harbhajan which was well judged by Sreesanth in the deep and to make the matters worse for Lankans Randiv was run-out.


Only one more wicket separated Indians from another win over Sri Lanka when Thissara Perera came and changed the complexion of the game. The lean looking all-rounder wielded the long handle to some good effect to stun the Indians. The Indian bowlers did not have any answer to the onslaught launched by Perera who scored a power-packed 15-ball 36 to seal the match in Lanka’s favour.


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