Often, after a close encounter, we talk about how well both teams played but there was always going to be only one winner in two horse race. Interestingly, the exact converse, i.e when both teams play utterly poorly, also produces close encounters, like the one Indians and Sri Lankans dished out at Perth today. Asian giants, in Aussie conditions, struggled, but again only one was going to be the winner..
Sri Lankans, playing first game of the tour after rain washed out their warm-up, spoiled solid start by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Indians did the same after Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli stand. Tailenders R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja proved to be the difference between two teams, adding 53 for the 7th wicket. Ashwin was named man of the match for his 3 wicket haul to go with unbeaten 30.
The scoresSri Lanka 233 for 8 wkts in 50 ovs.
India 234 for 6 wickets in 46.4 ovs.
Scorecard : CB series game 2, 8 Feb 2012.
It was a very hot day at Perth and hence batting first was obvious choice. Mahela Jayawardene, in his first match since reappointed as captain, called right and Lankan openers were at the crease half an hour later. Zaheer Khan swung the ball away from left handed Upul Tharanga and finally got his prey but Tillakaratne Dilshan was square-cutting admirably. With Sangakkara, Dilshan collected easy boundaries against two Kumars (Praveen & R Vinay) but Zaheer broke back from other end and soon Dilshan failed to keep a square-cut down due to bouncy Perth pitch.
Dinesh Chandimal, coming off a high scoring tour of South Africa, was forced to rebuild the innings with captain Jayawardene 52 runs between them from almost 12 overs, Indian spinners, specially R Ashwin, had made a grip over Lankan batting. Thisara Perera was sent during the batting powerplay but it didn't work, leaving vice captain Angelo Mathews to collect unaccelerating runs with tailenders towards the end.
With run rate hovering around 4 throughout the innings, Sri Lankans should have got at least 250 but they ended with a total they knew they had to bowl exceptionally to have any chance. It wasn't to be.
Indian chase was off to a rocket start with Virender Sehwag stroking couple of fours off Nuwan Kulasekara but Lasith Malinga once again got a wicket with new ball. Sehwag's half hearted cut came straight down to deep third man where Kulasekara took good running catch.
Sachin Tendulkar, with Virat Kohli, looked ominous, like he has several times on this tour but never lasted long. Hopes of his hundredth hundred had just come up when Mahela Jayawardene decided to call for a late batting powerplay noticing the legend was closing in on half century. Tendulkar just couldn't perish the in-field and chopped one onto his stumps after one lucky four through chinese cut!
Virat Kohli continued, raising yet another authoritive half century and showing the difference of maturity between him and Rohit Sharma who played couple of rash shots. Suresh Raina joined Kohli with little over a hundred runs to be scored and drove well but he too didn't match Kohli in shot selection. Raina was proved to a compulsive hooker yet again although ball went long and it may have been six on most grounds these days.
Kohli started to feel cramps and straight after MS Dhoni's dismissal, he went for a quick single to retain the strike but fell short against Malinga's direct hit.
At his juncture, match was at balance but Sri Lankans still had to take wickets as asking rate was below four an over. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja showed good technique to see their team home.
Sachin Tendulkaris only batsman to have more than 3000 runs in ODI against one country. Indian run machine today completed 3000 runs against Sri Lanka, after same landmark vs Australia.