India beat Sri Lanka, clinch ODI series (Lead)

August 28th, 2008 - 12:28 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 27 (IANS) India recorded their first bilateral series win against Sri Lanka on Sri Lankan soil when they wrapped up the five-match series with a game to go at the R. Premadasa Stadium here Wednesday. The Indians set the Sri Lankans a target of 259 in 50 overs and won by 46 runs as the hosts were bowled out for 212 with 21 balls to spare.

Mahela Jayawardene, who had become the first Sri Lankan captain to lose a home series to England last year, added a first ever series defeat to India at home too to his resume after the tourists took a 3-1 lead.

Veteran left-hander Sanath Jayasuriya set it up nicely for the Sri Lankans when he thrashed a typical aggressive 60 in 52 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes, but the rest of the batsmen blew it away as they had done all throughout the series, failing to provide any resistance.

The hosts replaced a steady opener in Malinda Warnapura to partner Jayasuriya, but that made no difference as the left-hander failed to add anything to the Sri Lankan total. He spent 31 minutes at the crease and saw the Sri Lankan total move to 28, but he was on zero and was ruled out leg before wicket to Munaf Patel. Munaf also came back to remove Kumar Sangakkara, who dragged one onto the stumps having made just six.

Jayasuriya, meanwhile, was in great nick and when he added 36 runs for the third wicket in 39 balls with Jayawardene, it looked as if the Sri Lankans had turned the tide.

To stop the run flow, Dhoni introduced Harbhajan Singh and the off-spinner got sufficient turn to trouble the batsman. He got the prize wicket of Jayasuriya when the left-hander tried to tap away a flighted delivery for a single, but ended up getting a leading edge and Suresh Raina at slip did spectacularly well to dive to his left and take the catch.

With the side in trouble, Jayawardene went for a suicidal single to short fine leg, but failed to beat Virat Kohli’s throw and was run out. Harbhajan also accounted for struggling middle order batsman Tillekeratne Dilshan for 12 to make it 131 for five and to make things worse, Sri Lanka lost Chamara Kapugedara soon, this time due to an error of judgment by umpire Billy Doctrove.

Like he has done all through the series, Thilan Tushara Mirando, who had earlier claimed his first ever five-wicket haul in ODIs, was involved in a lone battle, but he was only delaying the inevitable. He was the last man to be dismissed after scoring 40 runs in only 29 balls with two boundaries and two sixes.

It was a great win by the young Indian side, especially in the context that they had lost two of their key player, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, due to injury and after losing the first ODI by eight wickets, they fought back remarkably to inflict an embarrassing defeat on their neighbours.

The Indian total was possible thanks to half-centuries by Suresh Raina (76) and M.S. Dhoni (71), who fought hard to give the tourists a total above 250.

They added 143 runs for the fourth wicket in 141 balls and narrowly missed the record for that wicket in matches between Sri Lanka and India that’s held by Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, who had added an unbroken 145 run stand last year in Vishakapatnam.

The Sri Lankans did well to fight back claiming the last seven wicket for 34 runs, but Dhoni and Raina had done enough to help their side for a series win.

Earlier, left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas became the fourth bowler in the history of the game to claim 400 ODI wickets after Wasim Akram, Muttiah Muralitharan and Waqar Younis.

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