Tuesday, December 15, 2009

India edge thrilling one-dayer

India secured a three-run victory in a thrilling finish to the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Rajkot, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Virender Sehwag hammered 146 off 102 deliveries and featured in century partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar (69) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (72) as India finished on 414 for seven.

Sri Lanka replied in similar style with Tillakaratne Dilshan smashing 160 and contributing to substantial stands with Upul Tharanga (67) and Kumar Sangakkara (90).

Thilina Kandamby (24) and Angelo Mathews (38) got Sri Lanka close, but the home side sneaked to victory by restricting the visitors to 411 for eight.

South Africa hold the record for the highest successful run chase, scoring 438 for nine in reply to Australia's 434 in Johannesburg in March 2006.

Sri Lanka's response was just as brutal as India's innings had been earlier as Dilshan and Tharanga kept pace with the required run rate.

Dilshan had scored only one off the first seven deliveries he faced, but soon hit stride by lashing Praveen Kumar for consecutive blows and driving Ashish Nehra for three successive boundaries in the next over.

India had again proved shoddy in the field, the first opportunity going down early when Kohli grassed Tharanga on 10.

The left-hand opener went on to add 188 for the opening wicket before he was stumped by Dhoni off part-time spinner Suresh Raina.

Sangakkara took up the chase, hammering the bowlers around as he raised a half-century off just 24 deliveries.

He was dropped by Harbhajan Singh on 58 and went on to add 128 for the second wicket when he mistimed a pull off Praveen and ended up presenting Jadeja at deep square leg with a simple catch.

Sri Lanka had needed a further 99 from 81 deliveries at that stage, but Harbhajan, who had conceded only 17 from his first five overs, removed Sanath Jayasuriya and Dilshan in quick succession to bring India back into contention.

Mahela Jayawardene was run out cheaply, but Kandamby (24) and Mathews put the chase back on track with a 56-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Kandambcollapsey was then run out and Thilan Samaraweera followed him back to the pavilion leaving Sri Lanka needing 11 off the last over.

Nehra conceded only seven and claimed the wicket of Mathews as Sri Lanka fell agonisingly short.

In the morning, Sangakkara, banking heavily his batting line-up, had opted to field and would have been encouraged with his team's start as they conceded only 19 from the first five overs.

Sehwag had started with a boundary through point, but soon launched his attack by hammering Chanaka Welegedara for three boundaries in the left-arm paceman's third over.

There was no looking back from there as, Tendulkar, the claming in influence in an opening stand worth 153, also turned a touch aggressive.

Tendulkar, relying more on timing and placement reached his 92nd ODI half-century by deliberately steering Dilhara Fernando past the wicketkeeper for a boundary and was just beginning to open up when he was bowled by Fernando.

Sehwag continued to bustle along, lashing eight boundaries and two sixes en route to a 34-ball half-century and continued in explosive fashion as he closed in on his 12th century.

He eventually raced past the mark with consecutive blows of Mathews, taking only 66 balls to reach three figures and, together with Dhoni, who promoted himself up the order, continued to flay the bowling.

The second-wicket pair added 156, Dhoni also reaching 50 off 34 deliveries and the duo had looked to stamp their dominance by calling for the batting powerplay in the 35th.

But India lost their way as Sehwag and Dhoni fell within four deliveries of each other, triggering a collpase of sorts.

From 309 for one, India slipped to 352 for six, Virat Kohli (27) and Ravindra Jadeja (30 not out) preventing total capitulation.
India: V Sehwag, SR Tendulkar, G Gambhir, V Kohli, MS Dhoni (Captain & WK), SK Raina, RA Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, P Kumar, Z Khan, A Nehra

Sri Lanka: WU Tharanga, TM Dilshan, KC Sangakkara (Captain & WK), DPMD Jayawardene, TT Samaraweera, SHT Kandamby, ST Jayasuriya, AD Mathews, KMDN Kulasekara, CRD Fernando, UWMBCA Welegedara

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