Thrilling tie at Adelaide

Thrilling tie at Adelaide

It was another horribly tense evening at the Adelaide Oval as India found themselves facing a last-over finish for the second time in three days.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s one-legged scoop over cover off Lasith Malinga resulted in three runs and a tie against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, helping India move to the top of the triangular series table.

The 26th tie in one-day history and the first between these two teams ensured that every single heart in the vast venue missed several beats, especially in the climax. Electing to bat, Sri Lanka made 236 for 9 in 50 overs and India replied with an identical score. In a match of this nature, a few vital moments play crucial roles in deciding the eventual outcome.

The first of those  came in the 30th over of the Indian chase when umpire Nigel Llong called “over” after Malinga had sent down only five deliveries. What might have happened if the slinger had bowled the sixth ball is open to debate.

The second, more definite, moment came off the fourth ball of the final over. Lankan skipper Jayawardene effected a perfect loopy throw from mid-wicket, but Malinga failed to gather the ball with Dhoni miles short of his ground, sending Indian fans into delirium. If the captain had been dismissed, the match would have swung decisively in Sri Lanka’s favour.

Given the reprieve, Dhoni exploited it almost to the fullest, then attributed his calmness of mind to a state of complete blankness. “Basically, the mind is blank,” Dhoni revealed. “Malinga has a very difficult action to pick. He’s really consistent with the line he bowls with his yorkers. He has variations, yorkers at your toe, stumps and then outside the off-stump. There’s no point pre-determining a shot against a bowler like Malinga. I was looking to be blank, and back myself to get those four runs.”

Confidence and clear thinking have always been Dhoni’s hallmark, and he proved again on a clement Adelaide evening. Even in a tie, there was victory.