Kapugedera helps Sri Lanka set 309-run target for India (Lead)

July 3rd, 2008 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

By K. Hussain
Karachi, July 3 (IANS) Three fifties from their middle order batsmen propelled defending champions Sri Lanka to 308 for the loss of eight wickets in 50 overs in their last Asia Cup Super Four game against India at the National Stadium here Thursday. Chamara Kapugedera top scored with a sparkling 75 as skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Chamara Silva also struck identical fifties, enabling a relaxed Sri Lanka to put pressure on India, who have to win this match to qualify for Sunday’s final. The Sri Lankans are already in the final after collecting six points by winning the first two matches in the Super Four stage.

India posted a similar 308 for the loss of seven against Pakistan Wednesday night but crashed to an eight-wicket defeat in that high-scoring game.

Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene won the toss and elected to bat in perfect batting conditions. Pacer Isant Sharma got rid of the dangerous openers - Kumar Sangakkara (7) and Sanath Jayasuriya (43) by the 12th over after Sri Lanka had scored 71. Jayasuriya was in top gear, hitting eight fours in his 37-ball knock.

Jayawardene then put a 78-run fourth wicket stand with Kapugedara before falling to spinner Pragyan Ojha after scoring 50 off 63 balls with six hits to the fence.

Kapugedara kept building the innings and in Silva found an able partner. The two added 68 runs before the former was sent back by medium pacer Praveen Kumar with a leg before wicket decision in the 38th over. His 75 came off 78 balls and was punctuated with seven fours and a six. Silva made 50 off 56 balls before getting run out.

Ishant Sharma returned with the best figures of 2/55 while Rudra Pratap Singh was the most disciplined bowler finishing with 1/44. All-rounder Irfan Pathan was not in his element once again, giving away 80 in ten overs for a solitary wicket.

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