Sanga on song as Lanka win in style

Dhonis men stumble to 29-run defeat in first tie

Sanga on song as Lanka win in style

 Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara takes the aerial route during his blistering 78 in the first T20 international against India in Nagpur on Wednesday. AFPThe brilliance of Kumar Sangakkara carried the Lankans to an intimidating 215 for five, and then their bowlers responded in an emphatic fashion to the task of restricting a fiery Indian batting line-up.

The home side could reach only 186 for nine, nose-diving to a 29-run defeat in the first match of the two-match Twenty20 international series.

When skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir added 61 runs in just 33 balls to take India to 93 for one in 8.2 overs, it seemed as if India would accomplish the Herculean task. The blistering alliance, totally dominated by Gambhir, also helped India survive the early departure of Virender Sehwag.

However, Gambhir invited disaster in the shape of a paddle sweep. The left-hander, who had employed that shot to good effect on the night on a few previous occasions, could not connect a slower one from Angelo Mathews, watching with horror as the ball crashed on to the woodwork.

The dismissal of Gambhir, who thrilled the crowd with a forceful fifty, turned the tide decisively in favour of the Lankans as they came at the Indians with purpose as all of a sudden the hosts slipped to 115 for six.

Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina departed in the space of just 30 runs, and a comeback from that position was impossible.

Earlier, the Lankans rode on ebullient knocks from Sangakkara and Chamara Kapugedara to reach a sizeable total.

The beginning Sri Lanka had to their innings did not indicate the oncoming torrent of runs. The first four overs produced just 17 runs with new ball operators Ishant Sharma, who exploited the bounce in the pitch to telling effect, and left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra sticking to a fine line.

However, the fifth over changed the scenario. Sanath Jayasuryia, dropped on four by Yuvraj off Ishant, carted Nehra for 22 runs in that over to start the Lankan run spree; the sequence read: wide, 4, 4, 0, 4, wide, 4, 4.

The sudden explosion also masked the relative calmness of Tillakaratne Dilshan, but Jayasuriya departed at this juncture, caught by Ishant at third-man off debutant Ashok Dinda.

Sheer class

The dismissal of Jayasuriya brought to the middle a hurricane called Sangakkara. But this brutal force had class written all over it on the day, pummeling the Indian bowlers into submission with an array of elegant shots all over the park and the hosts’ shoddy effort on the field too did not help their cause either.

His innings was a mixture of natural talent, ability to find gaps and splendid ability to improvise.

The left-hander’s reverse sweep off offie Pathan broadcast the above said qualities that left the packed house wowing with admiration for a true performer.

However, his innings was a not a lone foray. Sangakkara was involved two brilliant partnerships – 74 (37 balls) for the second wicket with Dilshan and 69 (38 balls) with Kapugedara for the fourth wicket – as the visitors raced to a huge total that proved much beyond the grasp of the Indians.

SCORE BOARD

SRI LANKA

Dilshan b Rohit    34
(33b, 5x4)
Jayasuriya c Ishant b Dinda    26
(20b, 5x4)
Sangakkara (run out)    78
(37b, 11x4, 2x6)
Jayawardene b Pathan    9
(4b, 1x4)
Kapugedara b Nehra    47
(20b, 7x4, 1x6)
Mathews (not out)    15
(4b, 2x6)
Extras (B-1, LB-3, W-2)    6
Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs)    215
Fall of wickets: 1-43 (Jayasuriya), 2-117 (Dilshan), 3-126 (Jayawardene), 4-195 (Kapugedara), 5-215 (Sangakkara).
Bowling: Nehra 4-0-52-1 (w-2), Ishant 4-0-22-0, Dinda 3-0-34-1, Pathan 4-0-54-1, Ojha 2-0-27-0, Rohit 2-0-22-0.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 43/0.

INDIA

Gambhir b Mathews    55
(26b, 11x4)
Sehwag c Mathews b Kulasekara    26
(14b, 3x4, 1x6)
Dhoni c P’kumara b Jayasuriya    9
(12b)
Yuvraj c Kulasekara b Mathews    6
(8b)
Rohit (run out)    3
(4b)
Raina c Dilshan b Pushpakumara    21
(13b, 1x4, 1x6)
Yusuf c Malinga b Jayasuriya    0
(2b)
Dinda b Dilshan    19
(20b, 1x4)
Nehra (run out)    22
(13b, 1x4, 2x6)
Ojha (not out)    10
(6b, 1x6)
Ishant (not out)    5
(2b, 1x4)
Extras (B-2, LB-3, W-5)    10
Total (9 wkts, 20 overs)    186
Fall of wickets: 1-32 (Sehwag), 2-93 (Gambhir), 3-99 (Dhoni), 4-104 (Rohit), 5-105 (Yuvraj), 6-115 (Pathan), 7-129 (Raina), 8-167 (Nehra), 9-173 (Dinda).
Bowling: Nuwan Kulasekara 3-0-36-1, Dilhara Fernando 3-0-26-0 (w-1), Lasith Malinga 4-0-29-0 (w-2), Angelo Mathews 4-0-30-2 (w-1), Sanath Jayasuriya 4-0-19-2 (w-1), M Pushpakumara 3-0-27-1, Tillakaratne Dilshan 1-0-14-1.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 77/1.

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