Tendulkar, Harbhajan help India conquer Sri Lanka
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v India
Player:KC Sangakkara, SHT Kandamby, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, SR Tendulkar
Event:Compaq Cup 2009

DateLine: 14th September 2009


The Indian outfit under the leadership of MS Dhoni has continued to make steady progress in the one-day format off the game. They won a tri-series final in Australia, conquered the shores of Sri Lanka (twice), New Zealand and West Indies and whitewashed the English team at home. Today with the history against them, the Indian team managed to win the Compaq Cup 2009 against all odds.


Sachin Tendulkar delivered a masterclass to charge India to powerful total but Sri Lanka fought hard right till the end. Jayasuriya and Dilshan gave a blazing start before Harbhajan put India ahead but Sri Lanka rallied back through Sangakkara, who, however, got out to a bizarre dismissal to hand the advantage back to India. However, Kandamby and Kapugedera kept fighting on until Harbhajan returned to swing the match into India’s favour.


MS Dhoni won the toss and did have any hesitation in batting first. India replaced an out off sorts Karthik with Virat Kohli and it was widely expected that he would partner Tendulkar out in the middle. But to the surprise of many Rahul Dravid accompanied Tendulkar to open the innings. Dravid got the Indian innings off the mark with an exquisite square-cut to the point fence while Tendulkar got off the mark with a well-timed three to mid-on. After some watchful batting against an accurate Kulasekara and wayward Thushara, Tendulkar opened up with some well timed boundaries to either side of the wicket. An imperious cover-drive off a wavering Thushara and well-timed flick off Kulasekara showed that Tendulkar was seeing the ball well. He consistently maintained a strike-rate of over hundred as he along with Dravid added 95 for the first wicket. Sangakkara realising that his regular bowlers were not able to trouble the duo turned to the golden arm of veteran Jayasuriya who duly struck in his second delivery removing a well-set Dravid. Dhoni promoted himself up the order to beef up the shaky middle order. Tendulkar who was relying on deft placements and nudges began to attack by hitting Jayasuriya and Mendis over extra cover with his famed inside-out shots. Tendulkar took a single by cutting Mendis to the sweeper cover to notch up his 44th ODI century. Tendulkar has scored nine international centuries since May 2007, and has been dismissed seven times in the 90s.


During the 110-run second-wicket stand, Dhoni and Tendulkar ran hard between the wickets and once the batting Powerplay was taken Dhoni opened up. Malinga produced a ripper to remove Dhoni and then the plan off counterattacking during the Powerplay was shelved when Yuvraj came in. Yuvraj took time to get his eye and when he heaved Thushara over midwicket for a massive one the intentions were pretty much clear. A tired Tendulkar, who called in a runner after suffering from cramps, was dismissed in the fag end of the innings, being trapped leg before wicket by Mendis. His sublime knock of 138 came off just 133 balls and was laced with ten boundaries and a six. Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina did nothing off much note. Yuvraj finished the innings with a flurry off boundaries which had power and grace. None off the Lankan bowlers escaped the mauling from the top order off the Indian batsmen.


Sri Lanka in reply needed to get off to a flier which was duly provided by the Dilshan-Jayasuriya duo. Dilshan and Jayasuriya got stuck into the fast bowlers as they employed cuts, flicks and the pulls to subdue the bowlers into submission. Dilshan started the furious onslaught and it was well complemented by veteran Jayasuriya. Ishant Sharma was the worst sufferer as he was carted around for 21 runs in his opening two overs. RP Singh was called in to replace the bleeding Sharma and he was welcomed to the bowling crease with a thumping boundary by Jayasuriya. To make the matters worse Kohli fielding at point dropped a rampaging Jayasuriya and then the southpaw rubbed salt onto the wounds of RP Singh by pulling one to fine leg boundary and then peppering the cover fence.


Dhoni had to call upon Harbhajan in the eighth over, with 60 runs already on the board. Harbhajan bowled three dot balls in a row but the fourth one was crashed to the point fence by Dilshan. The next ball was a flatter one on the good length and Dilshan expecting a shorter one went onto his back foot but was beaten for pace to watch his woodwork get rearranged. In his next over, Harbhajan got Mahela Jayawardene with a doosra and the Indians let out a scream off joy. Jayasuriya, looking to counterattack holed out to mid-on and India sighed relief. Thushara promoted to boost a sagging run-rate got the boundaries but found his middle stump disturbed by Ishant Sharma. Angelo Mathews was promoted ahead off Kandamby and Kapugedera to help Sri Lanka keep in touch with a rising run-rate did his bit but Yuvraj Singh removed the all-rounder with a ball that gripped the surface.


Sangakkara and Kandamby then eased out on the attack a bit, with the captain playing the guiding role. The pair added 51 in 10 overs and was looking set for more when in a bizarre fashion Sangakkara got dismissed. RP Singh delivered an innocuous full toss which Sangakkara tried to put away, but the bat slipped from his sweat gloved hands and flipped in the air back over his shoulder and fell on his stumps leaving Sangakkara stunned. Yuvraj Singh could have had Kandamby when he skied one to mid-off but Yusuf Pathan who was fielding at that position dropped a dolly. Kandamby along with Kapugedera then put together a threatening partnership of 70 runs in just 15 overs to raise visions off victory in the Lankan camp. Dhoni at that period seemed to be running out off options and was seen heavily depended on his part timers, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina to deliver the goods. Suresh Raina got Kapugedera to nick one behind to Dhoni to break the partnership and then Harbhajan returned to mop up the tail to return with a well-deserved five-wicket haul.


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