Teenage seamer sets up India's emphatic win
by AFP

Ground:Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground, Rajkot
Scorecard:India v Sri Lanka
Event:Sri Lanka in India 2005/06

DateLine: 9th November 2005


Teenager Rudra Pratap Singh wrecked Sri Lanka's batting to lead India to a comfortable seven-wicket victory in the sixth one-day international here on Wednesday.


The 19-year-old left-arm seamer grabbed 4-35 in only his third match and spinner Murali Kartik took 2-42 as India skittled out the tourists for 196 after electing to field first.


India surpassed the modest target in the 35th over as Yuvraj Singh roared back into form with an unbeaten 79 off 67 balls and Mohammad Kaif hit 38 not out on his return from a hamstring injury.


Left-handed Yuvraj, who managed just 45 runs in the previous five matches, smashed nine boundaries and three sixes.


Yuvraj and Kaif put on a winning stand of 105 for the unbroken fourth wicket to give India a commanding 5-1 lead in the seven-match series.


The final match will be played in Baroda on Saturday.


Virender Sehwag led India as regular captain Rahul Dravid was rested, while Sri Lanka were depleted by the absence of star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan due to a hamstring injury.


The tourists continued their dismal performance on their current visit as the top order caved in on what appeared to be good batting conditions at the Madhavrao Scindia stadium.


Tillakaratne Dilshan top-scored for the tourists with 59, his third consecutive half-century, and Upul Chandana hit 30 off 32 balls.


But five top batsmen failed to cross 20 against an impressive display in the field by the hosts.


"We batted well, bowled well and fielded well," said Sehwag. "The bowlers, especially Rudra Pratap, deserve credit for restricting Sri Lanka to 196 on a good wicket.


"It was nice to see Yuvraj back among the runs. That is indeed a good sign for the future."


Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu rued the absence of Muralitharan but blamed the batsmen for not scoring enough runs.


"We had the best use of the wicket and 196 was just not enough," he said.


"Losing Murali was a big blow because the wicket had begun to take turn in the afternoon. But there is just no excuse for the defeat."


Dilshan, who scored a match-winning 81 not out in the previous game at Ahmedabad, boosted the total after Sri Lanka were reduced to 132-7 by the 31st over.


The tourists slumped despite a breezy opening start between left-handers Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga, who put on 44 by the eighth over.


Indian openers Gautam Gambhir (28) and Sachin Tendulkar (19) put on 43 before Dilhara Fernando claimed both batsmen in successive overs.


Sehwag fell in Chandana's first over after making a run-a-ball 22 as India slipped to 92-3 in the 17th, but Yuvraj and Kaif guided the hosts to a well-deserved win.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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