Monday, February 12, 2007

World Cup Preview: Sri Lanka beat India by 5 runs

A Blog Report
Sri Lanka beat India by five runs in the second one-dayer at Rajkot on Sunday, taking a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.Wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara hit a neat 110, his sixth one-day hundred, to shore up the visitors from 58 for four to reach 257 for eight. Sri Lanka then restricted India to 252 for nine.
In a tantalizing encounter, India required 11 runs to win off the final over but Sanath Jayasuriya conceded just five with his frugal left-arm spin, removing Mahendra Dhoni who had made 48 off the penultimate ball of the contest.
Sangakkara, 29, put on 108 runs for the fifth wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made 56, and then put on 61 with Farveez Maharoof (17) for the seventh wicket.
The left-handed batsman struck 11 fours and four sixes until he was caught in the deep off paceman Munaf Patel in the 49th over.
Patel, who dropped Sangakkara on 91 off his own bowling, claimed four for 50.
"It was a brilliant game," said Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene. "We just knew we were not out of the game until the last ball."
Sangakkara was delighted to follow upon his prolific 2006 when he scored his highest Test score of 287 in the first game against South Africa in Colombo.
Sri Lanka were boosted in their final World Cup buildup, but the defeat put pressure on Indian players before today's selection meeting to name the final squad for the tournament starting in West Indies next month.
Opener Saurav Ganguly (62) and Sachin Tendulkar (54) added 100 runs for the third wicket when India chased as the hosts appeared to be coasting towards victory.
However, leg spinner Malinga Bandara broke the partnership when he had Tendulkar stumped giving the charge against a sharp leg-break.
Sri Lankan bowlers put on a spirited display despite the absence of experienced paceman Chaminda Vaas and off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who have both been rested for the series.
Ganguly edged a wide ball from paceman Lasith Malinga to Sangakkara and Sehwag, playing his first knock since an abysmal South African tour, nicked Bandara behind the stumps trying to glide the ball to third man.
Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik (31) added 66 runs for the sixth wicket before Malinga trapped Karthik leg before to force the close finish.
Paceman Maharoof took three for 42, including the wicket of skipper Rahul Dravid, who played on to his stumps.
The first game of the four-match series was abandoned because of rain in Kolkata on Thursday. The next match will be played in Margao on Wednesday.

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