India clinch ODI series in Sri Lanka (Lead)

February 4th, 2009 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

Sachin TendulkarColombo, Feb 3 (IANS) Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh hit blistering centuries as India thumped Sri Lanka by a massive 147 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five match one-day series here Tuesday.Yuvraj smashed 117 in just 95 balls while Sehwag blasted 116 off 90 deliveries to power India to 363 for five.

Sri Lanka folded up for 216 in just 41.4 overs, with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha taking four for 38.

India continued their dominating show and will now aim to win the remaining two matches to complete a series whitewash.

This is India’s second successive ODI series win in Sri Lanka, having beaten them last year. India have also taken their winning streak to eight ODIs and are one short of surpassing their previous best.

It was a clinical performance by India, who never looked in trouble.

The hosts’ challenge fizzled out early and Kumar Sangakkara (83) was the only batsman to put up a fight.

Sri Lanka lost Sanath Jayasuriya early in the second over when he was bowled by Praveen Kumar with just seven runs on the board.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (30) was the next to follow, after his bails were clipped off by Zaheer Khan.

With the required run-rate soaring high, Sri Lankan batsmen tried to accelerate. But they lost wickets at regular intervals.

Amidst the ruin, Sangakkara stood rock solid at the one end but lacked support from other batsmen.

Earlier, India chose to bat after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss for the third time in succession.

Two of India’s most punishing batsman - Yuvraj and Sehwag - savaged the Sri Lankan attack with blistering centuries as India ran up 363 for five.

Yuvraj and Sehwag tore apart the Sri Lankan attack with a 221-run stand in 167 balls after India lost Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir early.

Tendulkar came down the crease to loft Dilhara Fernando for a straight six on a free-hit before he was once again unfortunate to be given leg before, the third time in as many matches. Gambhir, too was unlucky, as he backed up too far at the non-striker’s end when the ball brushed Fernando’s fingertips to hit the stumps.

What unfolded, thereafter, was mayhem as Sehwag and Yuvraj joined forces to strike telling blows one after the other.

The devastating stand ensured that India crossed the 100-mark in 14.4 overs and the next 100 runs came in just 72 balls (26.5 overs)

Yuvraj struck some magnificent strokes on either side of the wicket. The duo found boundaries at will, dispatching the ball to all corners of the park.

It was not all power hitting by Sehwag and Yuvraj. Their strokes had the touch of class laced with their gifted timing.

Whether it was the fast bowlers or the formidable spin sensation of Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, the duo spared none.

Muralitharan gave away 60 runs in 10 overs and Mendis 64 in nine.

The Yuvraj-Sehwag duo had their share of luck too. Farveez Maharoof was short of ground when Yuvraj miscued Mendis over mid-wicket, and Fernando palmed a tough chance over the rope when Sehwag was on 45. Sanath Jayasuriya grassed a routine caught-and-bowled chance with Sehwag on 72.

Both hit 17 boundaries while Yuvraj had an extra six.

Yuvraj was finally dismissed by Muralitharan as Chamara Kapugedera caught him at point. Sehwag was run out before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (35 not out) and Yusuf Pathan (59 off 38 balls) carried on the assault. Pathan was punishing as he hit three sixes and four fours.

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