India survive Kanbamby assault to sneak through
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 31st January 2009
India held their nerve to beat Sri Lanka in the second ODI to take the lead in the five match series. Kandamby played a valiant knock and remained unbeaten on 93 as he tried to help the Lankan team cross the finishing line. But in the end he ran out of partners and the asking rate was a touch beyond him to secure the win for his team. Ishant Sharma bowled well to pick up four wickets and he was well supported by Praveen Kumar and Zaheer Khan though both Khan and Sharma got some stick in the end. Sri Lankan skipper also found some semblance of form as he scored 52 but it was slightly off pace.
MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first. Twice India threatened to move towards setting Sri Lanka a huge total, and twice they were thwarted via disciplined bowling and fielding. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir butchered the bowling in the first Powerplay, only for Sri Lanka to dismiss both of them within three overs of each other. Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina then formed a rebuilding association, but yet again Sri Lanka struck back, dismissing them in the space of two overs. The home side proceeded to curb the scoring but a total of 256 was still challenging on a slowish R Premadasa pitch known to assist the bowlers under lights. Maharoof was exceptional, as his role was crucial in putting the brakes on Sehwag and Gambhir. India had raced along to 62 in the first nine overs after Sachin Tendulkar's early dismissal, given out lbw to a ball heading down past leg stump. Sehwag's intentions and form were pretty clear in the first over of the innings. The second ball he faced he square-drove to the point boundary, and that set the tone of his innings. In the first two overs of his stay at crease, Gambhir pulled, flicked and drove and also found the boundaries and in the company of Sehwag had set India up for a big total. Mahela Jayawardene introduced Maharoof in the 10th over and the third ball he bowled nipped away with extra bounce, and took Gambhir's edge. Three overs later, Sehwag tried to pick up his third three on a relay throw, but was beaten by the Murali-Sanath Jayasuriya combo. Yuvraj had an anxious moment when he edged Ajantha Mendis between Kumar Sangakkara and Jayawardene on 18 but he recovered well to unleash his trademark crunchy boundaries, the most satisfactory being a six over long-off in Mendis' next over. But with Murali coming in both Yuvraj and Raina were made to struggle for their runs.
After the drinks break Raina was surprised by Dilshan's extra bounce and spooned a simple catch to short extra covers. The major blow came two overs later, in the first over of Kulasekara's second spell when Yuvraj was given out lbw when he had clearly played the ball onto his pad. India could add only 76 in the following 16.5 overs. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan couldn't kick on after adding 30 in the first 41 balls of their sixth-wicket partnership. Maharoof came back for the batting Powerplay, taken in the 41st over, and choked the batsmen with slower deliveries. His stock pace was the variation then, and the batsmen couldn't get any power into their shots. Once Dhoni and Yusuf succumbed to some tight bowling, Mendis repaired his figures, giving only 19 in his last five overs and finishing with two wickets in the 50th over. Murali, though, was the better spinner, giving away only 32 in his quota and keeping the middle order under check.
Tillakaratne Dilshan came out swinging from the first ball on. He survived slashes and hoicks in the first two overs, but pulled Zaheer straight to fine leg in the third over. Praveen, who shared the new ball with Zaheer, kept Sanath Jayasuriya quiet and sharp fielding didn't let Sri Lanka get away. In Ishant's first over, the innings' seventh, Jayasuriya went to cut a wide delivery and top-edged to third man, where Pragyan Ojha was calm enough to hold on to the massive skier. In the next over, Praveen joined the party, getting Kumar Sangakkara to edge a wide delivery. Sachin Tendulkar held on to a difficult catch at first slip after Mahendra Singh Dhoni had dived in front of him. In Ishant's next over, Kandamby almost made it four-down, but Tendulkar couldn't hold on to an even more difficult chance, a slash that went high to his left. An extremely quiet period followed, with Ishant and Praveen giving little away. There wasn't much choice for the batsmen from 36 for 3. When Jayawardene cover-drove a wide half-volley from Ishant in the 15th over, the last 34 balls had got Sri Lanka only eight runs, including back-to-back maidens. Praveen bowled unchanged for eight overs and gave away only 18 runs. From the 17th over Dhoni introduced spin from both ends, and singles started coming more freely for the batsmen.
In the 24th over of the innings a crowd interruption, when Ishant - fielding at the boundary - was hit by a foreign object, further slowed down the proceedings. After the unwanted interruption Jayawardene and Kandamby signaled their intentions by getting more aggressive in their shot selections and more urgency were on display. Kandamby was the aggressor of the two as he began to find the boundaries while Jayawardene began to rotate the strike to let Kandamby have a go at the attack. Jayawardene got to his 49th ODI fifty and also more importantly it was his first fifty in 14 ODIs. He was soon dismissed for 52 soon after but more importantly he added 100 for the fourth wicket for Kandamby. Upon reaching his half-century Kandamby accelerated, and Chamara Kapugedera (31 off 29) provided the impetus. Boundaries started coming regularly, and the two took Sri Lanka to a stage where they needed 91 in the last 10 overs. In the 42nd over Sri Lanka opted for the batting Powerplay, and forged a string of overs that gave them at least one boundary. Overs No. 41 to 47 went for 48 runs. But during those overs Ishant stayed cool and used the slower delivery well. He dismissed Kapugedera, Faveez Maharoof and Thilan Thushara. Zaheer and Ishant bowled two tight overs after that, giving away four and one, and panic set in. Two run-outs left Sri Lanka needing 20 off the last over with one wicket in hand. Praveen Kumar, who had bowled a superb first spell of 8-1-18-1, bowled a wide and two low full tosses, the second of them resulting in Ajantha Mendis' run-out.