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SL snatch victory from jaws of defeat

PTI | Byhindustantimes.com, Dambulla
Aug 04, 2005 03:40 PM IST

Jayawardene (94) and Chandana (44) cantered Lanka home with a four-wicket victory against India. Action Replay

Sri Lanka clawed back their way from the gnawing jaws of defeat, to register yet another victory over India by four wickets in Dambulla on Wednesday.

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The fourh ODI of the IndianOil Tri-series was dominated by a 'never-seen before' batting display by man-of-the-match Jayawardene (94*) and Chandana (44*) who bailed the home team out, after some fiery bowling by the Indian pacers had reduced the Lankans to 95/6.

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The seventh wicket partnership between the two batsmen was the highest ever against India, a mammoth 126 runs of 133 balls.

Pathan had earlier got India off to a great start, taking makeshift opener Tharanga in his very first over. He made the left-hander play an away-swinging delivery, pitched close to the off stump line. Tharanga looking to cut it away, ended up edging it straight to the keeper.

Pathan and Balaji, were at their fiery best, not letting the Sri Lankan captain Atapattu and Sangakkara, break free of the shackles. Sangakkara looked under tremendous pressure often edging the ball in no-man's land.

With both the Indian bowlers adopting a probing line on and around the off-stump, the two Sri Lankan batsmen resorted to the same strategy they adopted on Tuesday, of having a slow but assured start. They managed just 34 runs in the first 10 overs, but more importantly, without losing any wickets.

The end of the 10th over saw both the batsmen, taking a few chances and upping the tempo. But Balaji proved to be a thorn in the flesh, getting Sangakkara to play across the line, and getting hit on the pad in the process. The umpire raised his finger, much to the ecstasy of the bowler. Sri Lanka were two down, with only 36 on board in the 12th over.

Sri Lanka looked to steady the rocking boat, but further slumped in terms of run rate. Jayawardene looked edgy and turned his attention to staying on the crease.

But as soon as the change up bowlers - Nehra and Ganguly - came into attack, Atapattu and Jayawardene sensed their chance of creeping back into the game.

The batters launched into bowlers, making Dravid's plan go all haywire.

The partnership was flourishing and was finally broken in the 20th over, when Suresh Raina came sprinting from nowhere and ran out Atapattu by a long margin; the Sri Lankan skipper looked flabbergasted. This was Raina's 3rd run-out in as many matches.

With the captain back to the pavilion, Sri Lanakan innings was going downhill from then on. They suffered an another major blow, when Nehra's rising delivery found the thin edge of Tilekaratne Dilshan's bat. He went for just 4, leaving his team at 88/4 in the 23rd over.

With just the last pair of recognized batsmen - Arnold and Jayawardene - at the crease. Dravid became more aggressive in his intent, putting pressure on the Sri Lankan middle order in the form of close-in fielders.

This move worked straightaway, resulting in yet another dismissal. Russel Arnold  got himself in an awkward position to a brute of a delivery from Nehra (again!), getting leg before to a ball that pitched in line around the off stump. Sri Lanka were five down for 94 runs now staring down the barrel!

The next man in, Dilhara managed to survive just 5 'furiously-rotating' balls of Bhajji; the sixth one was well flighted and turning in from outside the off stump. This was too hot for Dilhara to handle, edging it towards the waiting gloves of wicket-keeper Dhoni. The batter walked back, shaking his head.

Jayawardene, at the other end, was fast losing out on partners!

Chandana who came in after Dilhara's fall, gave the adequate tonic that Sri Lanka wanted for so long. That partnership resurrected the innings, giving the home team a semblance of chance of inching close to the victory target.

At the end of the 35th over in fact, both the batsmen had become so well set, that they were taking boundaries at will, against the bowlers.

Suddenly, all effort-bowling by India was falling apart. Nehra, Pathan, Bhajji, Sehwag; all bowlers were being mercilessly taken to task without prejudice.

Fours were showering from Chandana's and Jayawardene's blade with utter disdain!

Jayawardene pinched a quick single at mid-off of Ganguly's bowling, and registered his 21st half century. He was playing an excellent innings under pressure and the crowd loved it.

At the end of 40th over, the match was well within Sri Lanka's grasp, with the home team needing just 45 runs off last 10 overs.

The two batsmen continued to thrill the crowd and amaze the slouching Indian fielders, showing some splendid array of strokes. At the end, the batsmen had a cake walk, needing just 7 runs of the last 22 balls.

Jayawardene, deservingly hit the winning runs and walked back to his applauding teammates at 94 not out, with an equally stellar 44 not out from Chandana at his side.

India's Batting Collapse

Earlier, riding on Ganguly's 'comeback' half century and some fireworks in the end by Pathan, India managed to crawl up to 220 at the end of the 50 overs. India witnessed a yet another middle order collapse against Sri Lanka.

Ganguly was back in action to open the Indian innings along with Sehwag.

Sehwag got off the mark in style with a crashing boundary off Mahroof in his very first over. Amazingly the bowler hadn't allowed the Windies batters to stroke him for four even once in his entire spell of 10 overs on Tuesday.

Ganguly ODI batting averages vs Sri Lanka
  M Runs HS Avg 100s 50s Wkt BB BAvg Ct
Overall 272 10018 183 41.18 22 60 93 5/16 36.64 94
vs SL 37 1333 183 38.84 4 7 11 4/21 43.54 17

Maharoof again was at his incisive best in the early overs, getting Sehwag to nudge two cleverly disguised off-cutters in consecutive overs. Sehwag was bamboozled by his deliveries, as was Sangakkara and Jayawardene, who both dropped simple regulation catches of Sehwag's bat.

After a confident start, both the openers resorted to a more conservative approach seeing away the deadly Maharoof's bowling.

Ganguly showed good touch with the bat, more often than not getting his strokes off the middle of the bat. One could see the usual nudges and pokes at balls outside off stump, though. But they seemed more 'refined'. Clearly county stint had done him a lot of good.

At the end of the 7th over, India were riding along slow but assured at 31 with no loss. This incidently was the highest opening partnership for the one-day series. The previous one being 19, by Lanka against India in the first match.

This was the last league match at Dambulla, with the tournament moving onto the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

With a strong breeze blowing across the ground, Sri Lankan skipper replaced Dilhara with debutante PS Jayaprakashdaran. He impressed the critics with his guts, starting his international career with a perfect yorker to baffle Sehwag. Sehwag at the very last moment, dug the ball out.

India reached 50 runs in the 13th over and by that time both the openers slowly got their eye in, and built on the shaky start.

With fielding restrictions being lifted, Sehwag and Ganguly grew in confidence, playing some lovely off drives of the back and the front foot.

Sehwag in particular took charge, singling out the debutante Prakash for two successive boundaries.

But the bowler finally prevailed, getting his revenge and his first international wicket in his very next over. Sehwag gave a wild swipe to a delivery that was way outside off stump with no real footwork and ended up dragging the ball back onto the stumps. India lost its frontline batter to an another horrible shot.

Laxman walked in the seventeenth over, and as expected the run-rate dropped from 4.5 to 3.5 in no time. Though Ganguly continued to push for ones and twos, getting an odd boundary, the tempo was lost.

A tentative Laxman, survived innumerable appeals with balls whizzing past his blade. Fernando troubled him a lot, peppering Laxman with a lot short balls. By the end of 25th over, he had only managed 9 runs of 28 balls, while Ganguly had reached 37, getting his 10,000th run of a single in the cover, off Fernando's delivery. The scorecard read 85/1.

ODI Career Batting - Ten Most Runs
Name Mat I NO Runs HS Ave SR 100 50 Ct Team
SR Tendulkar 348 339 32 13642 186* 44.43 86.15 38 69 104 IND
Inzamam-ul-Haq 344 320 46 10933 137* 39.90 74.24 10 81 102 PAK
SC Ganguly 272 263 20 10018 183 41.18 74.15 22 60 94 IND
ST Jayasuriya 335 326 15 9967 189 32.04 88.56 18 57 105 SL
M Azharuddin 334 308 54 9378 153* 36.92 73.99 7 58 156 IND
BC Lara 256 249 26 9354 169 41.94 79.50 19 57 106 WI
PA de Silva 308 296 30 9284 145 34.90 81.13 11 64 95 SL
Saeed Anwar 247 244 19 8823 194 39.21 80.66 20 43 42 PAK
DL Haynes 238 237 28 8648 152* 41.37 63.09 17 57 59 WI
ME Waugh 244 236 20 8500 173 39.35 76.83 18 50 108 AUS

With Ganguly reaching his milestone, Laxman amazingly picked up his scoring rate, taking a few chances. Unfortunately, that move cost him his wicket with Dilshan's tossed up delivery bowling him out through the gate.

Ganguly, on the other hand kept his end up and reached his 60th ODI fifty in the 32nd over, looking good for much more.

However, things took a turn for the worse with Ganguly bowling himself out with a pathetic shot. The shot was a half-sweep, half-flick and the ball found a way past his legs. It was a meek end to a stellar innings!

The skipper replaced the ex, but disappointed getting plumb in front to Dilshan's straighter one. Rahul Dravid was out for a duck and it was all going awry for India!

Kaif was the next man in to join Dhoni who played a quickfire 20, but departed in the same brisk manner, completely misjudging Dilshan's flighted delivery and was clean bowled.

Suresh Raina, who came in, failed to impress with the bat again as he was caught-and-bowled by Dilshan for just 2. Dilshan was on fire with his best ever figures of 4/29.

India were six down in the 40th over with just 157 on board.

Kaif and Pathan added some semblance to the Indian innings thereafter, concentrating on stroking the ball into the gaps, rather than going for lofty hits. They had a stand of 33 runs for the seventh wicket.

Kaif, though departed soon with another caught and bowled, this time by Mahroof. This was Mahroof's first wicket of the match, taking a brilliant follow-through catch.

India were tottering at 194/7 and staring at a target of just around 200 runs.

Harbhajan followed soon after, leaving Balaji to partner with belligerent Pathan.

Thanks to his breezy cameo, helped by some wayward bowling by Fernando in the final overs, India managed to reach 220 at the end of the 50 overs. Pathan hit 5 meaty blows to the fence, in his knock of 38 runs off just 28 balls!
 
Lanka: Fall of Wickets
1-4(WU Tharanga), 2-36(KC Sangakkara), 3-78(MS Atapattu), 4-88(TM Dilshan), 5-94(RP Arnold), 6-95(Dilhara Lokuhettige)

India: Fall Of Wickets
1-0(V Sehwag), 2-117(VVS Laxman), 3-127(SC Ganguly), 4-128(R Dravid), 5-158(MS Dhoni), 6-162(Suresh Raina), 7-194(M Kaif), 8-207(Harbhajan Singh)

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