India fail to whitewash Sri Lanka, win series 4-1 (Lead)

February 8th, 2009 - 8:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 8 (IANS) Sri Lanka stopped India’s nine-match winning streak beating them by 68 runs in the fifth and the final One-day International but couldn’t stop the visitors from clinching the cricket series 4-1 here Sunday.
Chasing a mammoth target of 321, India were all out for 252 in 48.5 overs after Yuvraj Singh scored a blistering 73 and debutant Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten on a fine 60.

The chief architects of Sri Lanka’s pride-saving win were Tillekaratne Dilshan (97) and Man of the Match Kumar Sangakkara (84), who helped the hosts get 320 runs on board for the loss of eight wicket.

While chasing the target, India were off to a poor start right from the word go, as Gautam Gambhir (13), Virender Sehwag (6) and Suresh Raina were all back to the pavilion by the ninth over.

Man of the Series Yuvraj Singh (73) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (53) brought some stability to the innings with some smart hitting. Both played in their typical style and freed their arms on both sides of the wicket. At a time when the partnership was looking good, Muttiah Muralitharan took a brilliant catch off his own bowling to get rid of Yuvraj.

Indians paid heavily for failing to build partnerships and the highest was 55 for the seventh wicket between Dhoni and debutant Ravindra Jadeja (60).

Earlier opting to bat, Dilshan held the innings with a well-struck 97 while Sangakkara scored a 70-ball 84 to salvage some pride for Sri Lanka.

Sanath Jayasuriya (37) gave a flying start to Sri Lanka’s efforts to prevent the ignominy of a 5-0 whitewash, and Dilshan and Sangakkara played sensible innings to pose a tough challenge for India.

Jayasuriya started his onslaught by hitting Ishant Sharma (3-60) with his trademark clip over mid-wicket. In the young fast bowler’s fourth over, Jayasuriya pulled him twice for four over the square leg boundary.

Jayasuriya departed in the 11th over top-edging Irfan Pathan to Suresh Raina. But even after his dismissal, the scoring rate didn’t decline as both Dilshan and Sangakkara kept on piling runs at a steady rate and added 143 runs for the second wicket.

The duo frustrated the Indians and forced skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to try out nine bowlers. Comeback man Lakshmipathy Balaji proved expensive and conceded 32 runs from his five overs while debutant Ravindra Jadeja gave away 40 from his six overs.

It took a brilliant effort from Rohit Sharma to get rid of Sangakkara off Yuvraj Singh. Dilshan and Thilan Kadamby (26) kept the scoreboard moving. Rohit was again superb on the field and this time his direct throw stopped Dilshan three runs away from a deserving century.

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