Scorecard / Action in Images
India plummeted to their second successive defeat in the Commonwealth Bank ODI series Down Under as a casual effort saw them lose to Sri Lanka by 51 runs in Brisbane. The result means India must not only win both their remaining matches, but they will also be dependent on the other results to secure their spot in the best-of-three final.
The loss seemed inevitable after India's top three batsmen were back in the hut with just 54 runs on the board while chasing a target of 290 set by the Sri Lankans. Two of those wickets went to man-of-the-match Nuwan Kulasekara who benefitted from sticking to the basics of good line and length.
Captain Virender Sehwag was out for a duck to an extremely poor shot off just the second ball of the chase. Tendulkar looked good to start off with but merely flattered to deceive as he clipped the ball onto his stumps when on 22. Gautam Gambhir, who despite having two scores in the 90s this series while opening the batting, was dropped down to number 3 and once again looked in form before he guided a ball from Kulasekera to Thisara Perera in the gully.
Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina did stage a comeback and stitched together a 92-run partnership that was aided by some sloppy catching from the Lankans. Raina got a lucky let off when on four as Dilshan failed to hold on to a chance off Angelo Mathews. Virat Kohli had two escapes himself both courtesy Dinesh Chandimal at deep mid-wicket. First on 14 off Thisara Perera and then on 32 off Lasith Malinga.
The required run rate was however constantly creeping northwards. Raina departed for 32 after getting a leading edge off Maharoof, and when Kohli followed suit for 66 a few overs later, the writing was on the wall.
Irfan Pathan threw his bat around for a quickfire 47 in an attempt at some late heroics but a win was not on the cards. The rest of the batting folded easily and India were bowled out for 238 with 29 balls to spare.
Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. Dhoni’s one match suspension for India’s poor over rate against Australia meant Virender Sehwag was at the helm for India and Parthiv got a look in as keeper. Ashwin came back into the XI, while Zaheer and Rohit Sharma were ‘rested’.
Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Dilshan Tillakaratne put on a 95-run opening stand that gave the Island nation a solid start and set up the rest of the innings. The duo brought up the first 50 runs in just 45 deliveries, but the run rate slowed down thereafter. The Indian pace bowlers were guilty of pitching the ball too short at the start of the innings but later found a better length.
Jayawardene was the first man to go when on 45 he pulled a short ball from Irfan Pathan that was stunningly held on to by a diving Sehwag at short mid-wicket. India followed up with two more quick wickets – Ashwin inducing a faint edge from a set Dilshan when he was on 51.
Kumar Sangakkara was the next man to be dismissed as Umesh Yadav sent him back for just eight. Sri Lanka however forged another partnership with Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne arriving at the crease. Their run-a-ball stand of 71 took their side to 195 before Chandimal’s stumps were dislodged by Pathan.
Chandimal’s departure didn’t hurt the Lankans. Angelo Mathews was quickly into action and went on the rampage against the Indian attack. Mathews scored 49 off just 37 deliveries and co-authored a late surge with Thirimanne before the latter was out in the penultimate over. The last 10 overs brought the Sri Lankans 91 runs and gave India a target of 290 to chase.
The match did see its fair share of drama when top scorer Thirimanne (who eventurally made 62) was caught backing up too far while at the non-striker’s end. The bowler – R Ashwin spotted this before his own back foot landed and clipped the bails off to ‘Mankad’ Thirimanne. The middle order batsman was technically out and should have been back in the pavilion but a brief on-field discussion between the umpires, Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar prompted a reprieve.
With the win, Sri Lanka have moved into second spot in the tri-series standings and are now on 11 points, three behind Australia and one ahead of India.