Clinical Lanka brush feeble Indians aside

Clinical Lanka brush feeble Indians aside

World champs flirt with elimination

Clinical Lanka brush feeble Indians aside

This was a day when India missed Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s calm and calculative presence.

Chasing 290, India needed 78 runs when the last set of 10 overs started, and it would have been a perfect situation for Dhoni, suspended for this match for slow over rate, to show his finishing prowess. But Irfan Pathan and Parthiv Patel were guiding the chase on a clement Tuesday evening, and despite the former’s earnest efforts, India could manage only 238.

The 51-run win pushed Sri Lanka to second place in the tri-series points table. They have 11 points from five matches while India have 10 points from six games.

To overhaul Sri Lanka’s 289 for six, India would have had to defy history, as no team has hunted down a total of such proportions at the Gabba.

But they made a terrible beginning, losing stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag to the second ball of the first over itself. The opener slashed a wide delivery from Lasith Malinga straight down the throat of Nuwan Kulasekara, who was later adjudged player of the match, at third man.

Sachin Tendulkar, still searching for that monumental hundred, dragged a Kulasekara delivery on to his stumps, and Gautam Gambhir too departed soon as India slipped to 54 for three in just over 11 overs.

The young Indian middle-order has been under a lot of pressure since the beginning of the tri-series, failing to make desired impact on the game. But on the day, they seemed poised atone for past failures as Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina milked Lankan attack skillfully to add 92 runs in 19.2 overs.

It was also the best phase of the Indian innings, as the Islanders looked perplexed at the sudden fightback. Till then sharp on the field, the Lankans increasingly began to flounder as Raina and Kohli, who made 66, put pressure on them with excellent running between the wickets.

Fortune also favoured Kohli twice during his knock as Dinesh Chandimal floored two easy chances at deep mid-wicket, once each off Angelo Mathews and Thissara Perera.

Just when they appeared set to steer India to the shores of safety, Raina was dismissed against the run of the play, scooping Farveez Maharoof to Lahiru Thirimanne. India still needed 144 runs from 117 balls at that stage, and unfortunately India didn’t have Dhoni to marshal the chase.

Kohli also went back to the hut soon, mistiming a pull off Perera to Kulasekara, and from there on, the only point of interest was whether India could avoid a defeat conceding the bonus point.

Pathan (47, 34b, 7x4) flickered for a brief while, keeping India afloat, but neither Ravindra Jadeja nor Patel could provide him any meaningful support as India slid towards defeat.

Earlier, the Lankan innings was a picture of consistency. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who opened for the second consecutive game, and Tillakaratne Dilshan blasted 95 for the opening wicket that gave Lanka early momentum. That Zaheer Khan was absent on the day with a calf niggle too didn’t help India’s cause.

Dilshan made a confidence-boosting fifty before edging R Ashwin to Patel behind the stumps. The quick return of Dilshan, Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara denied Lanka the luxury of having the presence of an experienced batsman in the middle.

But youngsters Thirimanne, Chandimal and Mathews adapted to the conditions beautifully, and it should work as a lesson for their Indian counterparts.

Between them, they stitched together two significant alliances of 71 and 49 for the fourth and fifth wickets that led Sri Lanka to a strong total that eventually proved a winning one.

Jayawardene c Sehwag b Pathan    45
(55b, 2x4)
Dilshan c Patel b Ashwin    51
(72b, 5x4, 1x6)
Sangakkara c Tendulkar b Yadav    8
Chandimal b Pathan    38
Thirimanne c Raina b Ashwin    62
(62b, 6x4)
Mathews (not out)    49
(37b, 4x4, 1x6)
Perera b Raina    10
(7b, 1x4)
Maharoof (not out)    4
Extras (B-1, LB-2, W-18, NB-1)    22
Total (for 6 wkts, 50 overs)    289
Fall of wickets: 1-95 (Jayawardene), 2-104 (Dilshan), 3-124 (Sangakkara), 4-194 (Chandimal), 5-244 (Thirimanne), 6-265 (Perera).
Bowling: Vinay 8-1-48-0 (nb-1), Pathan 10-0-54-2 (w-4), Yadav 8-0-58-1 (w-4), Jadeja 10-0-43-0 (w-1), Ashwin 10-0-50-2 (w-4), Sehwag 2-0-9-0, Raina 1-0-10-1 (w-1), Kohli 1-0-14-0 (w-4).
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 22/0; 10: 53/0; 20: 101/2; 30: 138/3; 40: 198/4; end of innings: 289/6 in 50 overs.
Runs during Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 53/0; Power Play 2: 16-20 overs: 22/1; Power Play 3 (batting): 36-40 overs: 30/1.
Sehwag c Kulasekara b Malinga    0
Tendulkar b Kulasekara    22
(23b, 3x4)
Gambhir c Perera b Kulasekara    29
(34b, 4x4)
Kohli c Kulasekara b Perera    66
(83b, 2x4)
Raina c Thirimanne b Maharoof    32
(55b, 1x4)
Jadeja b Kulasekara    17
(21b, 1x4)
Pathan c&b Perera    47
(34b, 7x4)
Patel c Malinga b Perera    4
Ashwin c Sangakkara b Malinga    5
Vinay c (sub) b Perera    0
Yadav (not out)    0
Extras (LB-7, W-9)    16
Total (all out, 45.1 overs)    238
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Sehwag), 2-38 (Tendulkar), 3-54 (Gambhir), 4-146 (Raina), 5-172 (Kohli), 6-191 (Jadeja), 7-215 (Parthiv), 8-232 (Ashwin), 9-233 (Vinay).
Bowling: Malinga 8-0-55-2 (w-3), Kulasekara 9-0-40-3 (w-4), Maharoof 10-1-52-1, Mathews 4-0-12-0, Perera 7.1-0-37-4 (w-1), Herath 7-0-35-0 (w-1).
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 29/1; 10: 45/2; 20: 84/3; 30: 145/3; 40: 212/6; end of innings: 238 all out in 45.1 overs.
Runs during Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 45/2; Power Play 2: 16-20 overs: 15/0; Power Play 3 (batting): 36-40 overs: 46/2.