Sri Lanka restrict India to 237 in the third ODI

August 24th, 2008 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 24 (IANS) An all-round performance from the hosts Sri Lankans restricted India to 237 for nine in 50 overs after Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to bat first in the third one-day international at the R. Premadasa Stadium here Sunday. On a flat track, in front of a sell out crowd, Mahela Jayawardene lost his fifth straight toss, but his bowlers, backed up by excellent fielding, didn’t let him down as they came up with a disciplined effort and tied down the free scoring Indian batsmen to a modest total.

Dhoni led from the front and ended being the top scorer for his side with 76 runs. He was involved in a 54 run stand for the fifth wicket with Suresh Raina and after his fall, went on to add 67 runs for the sixth wicket with Rohit Sharma. Dhoni’s partnership with Rohit was vital as the runs came in 66 balls and 39 minutes.

Dhoni innings came in 80 balls with eight boundaries. It was Dhoni’s 23rd fifty and his fourth against the Sri Lankans. The Indian skipper was dismissed in the penultimate over of his side’s innings.

Gautam Gambhir, who returned to the side having missed the second ODI with a stiff neck, didn’t look comfortable. He had put on 39 runs for the first wicket with 19-year-old Virat Kholi before an error of judgment brought Kohli’s downfall. The batsman pushed one to mid-on and set off immediately, but Chamara Silva, at the midwicket, beat him with a direct hit.

In the next over, Nuwan Kulasekara dismissed Gambhir, leg before.

Yuvraj Singh started off aggressively when he pulled Kulasekara for a six. Apart from that mistake, Kulasekara bowled a good line and length and was rewarded when Yuvraj pushed forward at a delivery that angled across him and the edge was cleanly taken by Jayawardene at the first slip.

Suresh Raina did well to post his sixth ODI fifty, the second against Sri Lanka, and was looking good for a big score before he too was run out after making 53 off 80 balls.

Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis was introduced in the 21st over. After dismissing Subramaniam Badrinath, he came on for his second spell late in the innings to dismiss Harbhajan Singh and top scorer Dhoni off successive balls.

While Mendis ended with three wickets, Thilan Thushara and Kulasekara picked up two wickets apiece while the two senior pros Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas went wicketless.

Murali has now gone wicketless in successive games while Vaas, who came into the match having missed the last ODI, requiring just a wicket to complete 400 ODI wickets, failed to reach the milestone despite tight bowling. Vaas finished off his ten overs on the trot.

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