Clinical Lanka demolish inept India

Dhoni and Co dish out listless batting display as hosts coast to eight-wicket win to enter final

Clinical Lanka demolish inept India

If India are honest to themselves, they will acknowledge that it was their own failings that proved their undoing at the Rangiri Dambulla International stadium on a rain-free Sunday which Sri Lanka celebrated by storming emphatically into the final of the triangular series. India must beat New Zealand on Wednesday if they are to set up a rematch of the Asia Cup final.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni won his first toss of the tour, but his wide grin at finally being in a position to dictate play quickly disappeared as the top – and the bottom – fell out of the Indian batting.

Following up on their dismal 88 in the tournament opener against New Zealand last Tuesday, India folded up for 103, gifting the recalled Thisara Perera with his maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket.

Stung by the events of their past two matches and desperate to vent their frustrations, Sri Lanka came out steaming with a revamped opening pair in Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, racing to 104 for two and a most comprehensive eight-wicket victory with a massive 209 deliveries to spare.

Dilshan lay into the bowling with great disdain while Jayawardene played with customary panache during a stand of 79 (57b) that amply exemplified India’s cluelessness throughout the match, Simplistic as it will be to blame India’s pathetic batting to a slew of umpiring mistakes – three of the four obvious errors emanated from home umpire Kumar Dharmasena – it must be kept in mind that barring the opening combine to an extent and Yuvraj Singh, no one showed any commitment or application, perishing with the regularity and ease of falling autumn leaves.

The pitch did offer a few challenges and the bowling was disciplined, but that didn’t justify the complete lack of fight from the Indians. Sri Lanka were all fired up in a game they had to win to enter the final; India had no answers with which to douse the fire as they were left badly singed.

New-ball phase

Dinesh Kaarthick and Virender Sehwag appeared to have tided over the testing new-ball phase when Dharmasena got into the act, ruling both batsmen out to help Nuwan Kulasekara reap the rewards. Rohit Sharma fell for the second successive game playing across the line and being trapped in front, his place in the eleven now under serious scrutiny, but the mayhem really began to unfold with Suresh Raina’s departure.

The 21-year-old Perera, a curious mix who once refused to travel to New Zealand as the under-19 skipper because he wanted to be with his wife in Colombo, was drafted in for Dilhara Fernando as Sri Lanka persisted with their policy of attacking India with seam-up bowling. Raina, adjudged not out by Asad Rauf when he seemed to have nicked Angelo Mathews to Kumar Sangakkara, fell in the next over, to Perera’s second delivery, though this time, only Dharmasena felt there was contact between bat and ball.

Perera did nothing spectactular. His pace was brisk but no more, movement off the seam gentle though occasionally, he did procure appreciable bounce. Oblivious to the carnage up front and the lack of depth below him, Dhoni played one casual waft too many against his Chennai Super Kings team-mate to present Sangakkara with another of his four catches for the match.

The skipper’s casual dismissal typified India’s inexplicably unprofessional approach, only Yuvraj putting his head down and addressing the situation with any character. Returning from illness, he began with two gorgeous drives, then went into his shell as wickets tumbled at the other end. By the time he decided to open his shoulders, eight sticks had tumbled; he was ninth man out, to a shocker from Rauf, as India’s hopes of even a semblance of respectability went up in smoke.

SCORE BOARD

INDIA
K’thick c S’kkara b Kulasekara    9
(25b)
Sehwag lbw Kulasekara    12
(12b, 2x4)
Rohit lbw Mathews    11
(21b, 2x4)
Yuvraj lbw Malinga    38
(64b, 5x4, 1x6)
Raina c Sangakkara b Perera    8
(15b, 1x4)
Dhoni c Sangakkara b Perera    10
(16b, 2x4)
Jadeja c Silva b Perera    0
(9b)
Praveen c Tharanga b Perera    0
(1b)
Nehra c Sangakkara b Malinga    2
(4b)
Ishant b Perera    3
(24b)
Ojha (not out)    2
(10b)
Extras (LB-3, W-5)     8
Total (all out, 33.4 overs)     103
Fall of wickets: 1-20 (Sehwag), 2-26 (Kaarthick), 3-50 (Rohit), 4-61 (Raina), 5-71 (Dhoni), 6-77 (Jadeja), 7-77 (Praveen), 8-80 (Nehra), 9-99 (Yuvraj).
Bowling: Malinga 9-1-21-1 (w-2), Kulasekara 9-2-31-2 (w-1), Mathews 8-3-20-1 (w-1), Perera 7.4-1-28-5 (w-1).
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 20/0; 10: 38/2; 20: 71/4; 30: 99/8; end of innings: 103 all out in 33.4 overs.
Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 38/2; Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 18/1; Power Play 3 (batting): 29-33 overs: 20/1.
SRI LANKA
Jayawardene c Jadeja b Ishant    33
(35b, 6x4)
Dilshan c Nehra b Ishant    35
(23b, 8x4)
Tharanga (not out)    12
(19b, 2x4)
Sangakkara (not out)    13
(15b, 2x4)
Extras (LB-6, W-4, NB-1)     11
Total (for 2 wkts, 15.1 overs)     104
Fall of wickets: 1-79 (Dilshan), 2-79 (Jayawardene).
Bowling: Praveen 7-1-44-0 (w-1), Nehra 5-0-39-0 (w-3, nb-1), Ishant 3.1-0-15-2.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 36/0; 10: 79/2; end of innings: 104/2 in 15.1 overs.
Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 79/2; Power Play 2 (batting): 11-15 overs: 21/0; Power Play 3: Not taken.

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