Sri Lanka settle for consolation win (Lead)

August 30th, 2008 - 1:00 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 29 (IANS) Sri Lanka had some consolation as they won the final One-Day International of the five-match series against India Friday, which the tourists won 3-2. Friday’s dead rubber had only academic interest with the series already in India’s bag and with both sides giving the reserves of the side a go, the Sri Lankans settled for a 112 run win after India were set a revised target of 216 runs in 44 overs.

Chasing Sri Lanka’s total of 228, a sharp shower at 7.50 p.m. forced the players indoors and 86 minutes play was lost. The Indians had just lost the wicket of Suresh Raina before rain came down and that set them on a disadvantage as they were given a revised target of 216 in 44 overs.

India were 70 for three at the break with all three wickets falling to Nuwan Kulasekara as he bowled his nine overs in a straight spel. He accounted for a fourth wicket when he had Rohit Sharma leg before wicket.

Sri Lanka had never lost four ODIs in a row and after yet another disappointing show by the top order, the bowlers went about things purposefully after the break when they sensed a sniff in the game.

Ajantha Mendis was brought in in the 18th over of the Indian innings with Yuvraj Singh at the crease and he struck off his very first ball when the left-hander dragged one onto his stumps. Mendis had tormented Yuvraj right through the series and with that dismissal he had got him three out of five in the series.

While Dilhara Fernando went through M.S. Dhoni’s bat and pad to bowl him, Mendis had a field day beating the clueless Indian tail at will. He also picked up the wickets of Zaheer Khan (3), Irfan Pathan (7) and Pragyan Ojha (5) and finished with figures of 10 for four wickets as India crashed to their lowest total on Sri Lankan soil - 103.

For once, Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene had some luck with the toss and elected to bat first, but his top order let him down yet again. After Sanath Jayasuriya was dismissed for one, rookies Malinda Warnapura and Mahela Udawatte added 77 runs for the second wicket in 95 balls. Pathan claimed both batsmen in the space of four balls to peg Sri Lanka back to 80 for three. Two runs later, Kumar Sangakkara was picked up at slip by Gautam Gambhir off R.P. Singh and then left arm spinner Ojha, who bowled three successive maiden overs troubled the middle order and dismissed both captain Jayawardene (12) and Chamara Kapugedara (26).

At 133 for six, the writing was on the wall for the Sri Lankans, but a record unbroken 94 run stand for the seventh wicket between Mirando and Mubarak pulled them out of what looked like yet another embarrassing collapse.

While Mubarak, coming in for Dilshan played sensibly, Mirando went on an all out attack and it paid off as he made an unbeaten 54 in 59 balls with six boundaries. The partnership is also a new record at R. Premadasa Stadium for the seventh wicket beating the previous best of 84 between Mohammad Kaif and Anil Kumble.

Mubarak made an unbeaten 47 in 55 balls with three boundaries while Mirando, who reached his maiden ODI 50 in 42 balls, remained on 54 not out and finished off a successful series.

He also topped the batting averages (56:00) from both sides and his aggregate of 168 runs is only behind the two captains Dhoni (193) and Jayawardene (185), who had incidentally batted in all five innings compared to Mirando’s four.

He also went onto claim 10 wickets in the series including a first ever five wicket haul.

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