Raina, Dhoni shine for India (Lead)

August 27th, 2008 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 27 (IANS) After the middle order batsmen had put India in a strong position, the tourists failed to accelerate in the death overs and were bowled out for 258 with two balls to spare against Sri Lanka in the fourth one-day international at the R. Premadasa Stadium here Wednesday. Sri Lanka’s seam bowlers had shared a wicket each as India were reduced to 81 for three by the 18th over, but a 143 run stand for the fourth wicket between captain M.S. Dhoni (71) and Suresh Raina (76) took them to a comfortable 224 for three at the end of the 41st over.

But a late collapse in the last nine overs helped Sri Lanka to seize back the initiative as the tourists lost seven wickets for 33 runs in that period as Thilan Tushara returned career best figures of five for 47.

Tushara was targeted by both Dhoni and Raina as they scored 17 runs off his spell of two overs, but he came back strongly in his third spell and inflicted two crucial blows by removing both the batsmen.

In the last over, Tushara picked up two more wickets within the space of four balls to seize the initiative back for the Sri Lankans on a good batting wicket.

Raina and Dhoni added 143 runs for the fourth wicket in 141 balls and narrowly missed the record for fourth partnership of unbroken 145-run stand between Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh in Vishakapatnam in 2007.

Raina made 76 in 78 balls with six boundaries and a six and was out when he lofted one to long-off and was caught by Nuwan Kulasekara. Dhoni, meanwhile, made 71 in 80 balls with four fours and his resistance ended when Sanath Jayasuriya took a good catch at covers.

The exit of Raina and Dhoni turned the tide towards the Sri Lankans.

Having gone wicketless in his last two games, ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan claimed the wicket of Subramaniam Badrinath when the batsman tried to turn the off-break on the on-side but committed to the shot too early and was picked up by Mahela Jayawardene at short mid wicket.

Wickets fell at regular intervals from there on as India failed to make most of the good start.

Earlier, Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene lost his fourth straight toss in the series and the sixth consecutive in the tour and was forced to take the field.

Left arm paceman Chaminda Vaas, meanwhile, became the fourth bowler in the history of the game to capture 400 wickets when he dismissed Yuvraj Singh.

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