Monday, August 23, 2010

Sri Lanka thrash India to reach triangular series final

Sri Lanka sealed an eight-wicket victory to condemn India to their second comprehensive one-day defeat in the triangular series in Dambulla.Thisara Perera (5-28) starred for the hosts, who dismissed India for 103, with Yuvraj Singh top-scoring with 38.Tillakaratne Dilshan (35) and Mahela Jayawardene (33) ensured the hosts reached their target in 15.1 overs.The win confirms Sri Lanka's place in the final, while India must beat New Zealand on Wednesday to qualify.

The Black Caps thrashed India by 200 runs in the opening match of the tournament on 10 August, but have since lost to Sri Lanka while their second encounter against the hosts was abandoned because of rain.However, Mahendra Dhoni's side will need to significantly improve on yet another abject display at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.Sri Lanka, who needed a victory to book their place in the tournament final on Saturday, dropped spinners Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis, and recalled seamer Perera.

Off-spinner Suraj Randiv also returned following a one-match suspension for deliberately bowling a no-ball to deny Virender Sehwag a century in India's six-wicket win last Monday.After winning his first toss in Sri Lanka, India skipper Dhoni opted to bat but lost the enigmatic Sehwag lbw to Nuwan Kulasekara in the sixth over.Opening partner Dinesh Karthik soon followed as the seam trio of Lasith Malinga (2-21), Kulasekara (2-31) and Angelo Mathews (1-20) put Sri Lanka in total control.

Perera ripped through the lower middle order, removing Ravindra Jadeja and Praveen Kumar for ducks before bowling last-man Ishant Sharma to dismiss India for a paltry 103, their third-lowest total against Sri Lanka in one-day internationals. Ishant's wicket also gave the 21-year-old, playing in his 11th one-day international, his first limited overs five-wicket haul."He (Perera) had a fantastic game today and really won us the match," said Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara."We would also have batted first had we won the toss. But our bowlers bowled a great line and length right from the start. We have got a varied attack."

The returning Yuvraj, fully recovered after suffering dengue fever earlier in the tour, was the only India batsman to resist, hitting five boundaries and one maximum in his 64-ball innings before he was trapped lbw by Malinga.India's deficiencies with the bat were ruthlessly exposed by Jayawardene and Dilshan, who smashed 14 boundaries in a blistering 79-run opening wicket partnership from just 50 deliveries. Although both openers fell in successive deliveries to Ishant in the 10th over, Upal Tharanga and Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara ensured there were no further hiccups for the hosts."We didn't get the kind of start we needed," said Dhoni. "Their bowlers bowled in the right channels and pushed us into making mistakes."


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