Monday, December 21, 2009

Tendulkar, Jadeja lead India canter

Ravindra Jadeja claimed a career-best four-wicket haul, while Sachin Tendulkar struck a superbly-paced 96 not out to lead India to an easy victory.

Sachin Tendulkar struck a superbly-paced 96 not out as India secured an easy seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the third one-dayer in Cuttack to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Sri Lanka won the toss and Tillakaratne Dilshan gave the visitors a flying start with a brutal 18-ball 41, while Upul Tharanga (73) and Kumar Sangakkara (46) kept Sri Lanka in line for a big total.

However, Ravindra Jadeja claimed a career-best four for 32 as India's bowlers fought back bravely to restrict Sri Lanka to 239 all out.

Stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag (44) gave India's chase a solid start but Tendulkar's calm innings ensured they were never in danger as the home side overhauled the target with 7.2 overs to spare.

Sri Lanka's total had seemed unlikely at the start when India's new-ball bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma leaked runs, coming unstuck as much from their own lack of accuracy as Dilshan's free-hitting intent.

A flurry of boundaries helped Sri Lanka raise the 50 off only 26 deliveries and the opening batsmen added 15 more to the total before first-change bowler Ashish Nehra, along with Harbhajan Singh, pulled things back.

Harbhajan, pressed into action inside the powerplay, bowled a tight line, while Nehra engineered the breakthrough by ending Dilshan's stay.

The dashing opener, who was let off on 36 when Dinesh Karthik made a mess of a stumping chance, top-edged a pull that Karthik easily held.

There was little respite for the home team, however, as Sangakkara and Tharanga built steadily.

The two added an even 100 for the second wicket when Sehwag lured Sangakkara, beat him with turn and Karthik completed a stumping after first failing to collect cleanly.

Sri Lanka were 165 for one in 22.2 overs at that stage but India's bowlers effected a stunning turnaround.

Jadeja snared Tharanga with one that turned sharply from outside off and Mahela Jayawardene perished while attempting to pull a short delivery from Harbhajan but only found Suresh Raina at short midwicket.

Thilina Kandamby (22) and Chamara Kapugedera (15) briefly steadied the innings but Jadeja nipped that stand in the bud by bowling Kapugedera via an inside edge and Kandamby - the last recognised batsman - was also scalped by Ishant, the bowler making further amends for a wayward opening spell by removing Suraj Randiv for a duck in the same over.

The tail went quickly and Jadeja finished his spell with the wickets of Nuwan Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis.

Sehwag, after a quiet start, responded with a stroke-filled innings, dominating an opening stand worth 55 with Tendulkar.

He had hit nine boundaries in a 28-ball stay when he attempted to cut Chanaka Welegedara for another boundary but only found Dilshan at point.

Gautam Gambhir (32) continued the chase and had added 72 for the second wicket with Tendulkar when off-spinner Suraj Randiv, playing only his second ODI, produced a smart catch off his own bowling to send back the left-handed batsman.

Tendulkar, off the mark with a superbly-timed boundary through midwicket, was again the common factor in a stand worth 42 for the third wicket with Yuvraj Singh (23).

Tendulkar, who struck 13 boundaries, then put on 73 in an undefeated stand for the fourth wicket with Karthik (36 not out) as India cantered over the line.


India: V Sehwag*, SR Tendulkar, G Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, SK Raina, KD Karthik†, RA Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Z Khan, A Nehra, I Sharma.

Sri Lanka: WU Tharanga, TM Dilshan, KC Sangakkara*†, DPMD Jayawardene, SHT Kandamby, CK Kapugedera, S Randiv, KMDN Kulasekara, BAW Mendis, UWMBCA Welegedara, SL Malinga.

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