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Rediff.com  » Sports » India beat Sri Lanka by 15 runs, go 2-0 up

India beat Sri Lanka by 15 runs, go 2-0 up

Last updated on: January 31, 2009 23:50 IST

India fended off a spirited challenge by Sri Lanka to snatch a thrilling 15-run victory in the second one-dayer and take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series, in Colombo, on Saturday.

After posting a competitive 256 for 9, the visitors quelled Sri Lanka's late fightback, stopping them at 241 with four balls to spare.

Visiting fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who took three wickets in the first match, returned figures of four for 56 from his nine overs, while Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar and Pragyan Ojha chipped in with a wicket apiece.

Thilina Kandamby's brilliant unbeaten 93 went in vain as Indians held their nerves in the final moments to romp home in the day-night encounter.

India thus notched their seventh consecutive ODI victory.

The two teams play their next match, another day-nighter, at the same venue on February 3.

Electing to bat, India scored 256 for nine, Yuvraj Singh (66) and Virender Sehwag (42) being the main contributors on a slow track at the Premadasa stadium.

The visitors were in the driver's seat early after reducing the Lankans to 36 for three within eight overs. But two fighting half centuries by captain Mahela Jayawardene (52) and rookie Kandamby (93 not out) toook Lanka within striking distance of a marvellous victory.

The Lankan duo stitched an invaluable 100-run stand for the fourth wicket to frustrate the Indians before losing the plot towards the end.

Kandamby, who was dropped by Tendulkar when he was on eight, was a thorn in India's flesh. He started the innings cautiously but gained in confidence later on to raise hopes of a Lankan victory.

After the 30th over, the required run rate crossed seven but Jayawardene and Kandamby slowly but steadily inched ahead before the home team captain was out for 52 while trying to hit Ojha inside out only to hole out to Yusuf Pathan at extra cover.

That dismissal snapped a 100-run stand between Jayawardene and Kandamby, from 162 balls. Jayawardene scored his first fifty after 13 innings from 75 balls, inclusive of one four and a six.

India looked like cruising, with the Lankans needing nine an over from the last 10 overs, but some lusty hits by Kandamby took the rate down to eight from the last five overs with four wickets in hand.

But three run-outs in the space of 16 balls and 13 runs saw India through.

Earlier, Yuvraj top-scored with an 88-ball 66 and stitched an 85-run fourth wicket partnership with Suresh Raina (29) to stabilise the Indian innings after the first three wickets fell within 13 overs.

Virender Sehwag (42) was his usual aggressuve self at the top of the order but the Indians were hit hard by some dubious umpiring decisions, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj being at the receiving end.

Both Yuvraj and Tendulkar (6) were ruled leg before wicket though television replays showed they were distinctly unlucky.

Yuvraj got on the back foot to work a Nuwan Kalusekara delivery towards square leg. The umpire failed to spot a big inside edge onto the batsman's pads and, though he took some time, ended up raising his finger, leaving everyone surprised and Yuvraj distraught.

Yuvraj hit seven fours and a towering six in his innings.

Tendulkar (6 off 9 balls) also got a dubious decision, the second time in succession, when he was ruled leg before while trying to play a Kalusekara delivery towards square leg in the third over. Television replays suggested the ball might have missed the leg stump.

Thereafter, Sehwag and Gambhir went on rampage but both fell before the 10th over.

Gambhir got off to a cracking start as Jayawardene took out one of the slips. But the Delhi batsman's stint was cut short by Ferveez Maharoof.

Maharoof tricked Gambhir by angling the delivery across the stumps which the Indian tried to send towards third man and outside-edged the ball which landed in the hands of wicketkeeper Kumara Sangakkara. Gambhir made 27 runs in 28 balls and hit four boundaries.

Sehwag followed his Delhi team mate as he tried to score a third run off a Thilan Thushara delivery in the 13th over. Muttiah Muralitharan chased the ball from mid-on and relayed it to Jayasuriya whose accurate throw to the non-striker's end got the host rid of Sehwag.

Yuvraj played Mendis's carrom ball with ease and hit quite a few bounaries besides a six over long-off while Raina also looked at his best before falling prey to Thilakratne Dilshan.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni guarded one end for almost 15 overs and scored just 23 runs before being caught by wicketkeeper Sangakkara off Maharoof.

Ajantha Mendis made his presence felt at the fag end by scalping Zaheer (17) and Praveen (15) from last two balls of Indian innings. Muralitharan, who needed just two wickets to become highest ODI wicket taker, returned empty-handed.

India made two changes to the team which won the opener in Dambulla by bringing in a fit-again Sehwag in place of Rohit Sharma while pacer Munaf Patel, who is nursing a groin problem, made way for Praveen. Sri Lanka retained an unchanged playing eleven.

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