India take unassailable 3-0 lead as Sri Lanka flop again

India take unassailable 3-0 lead as Sri Lanka flop again

Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first considering the fact that dew was expected to play a big role as usual during the later stages of the game. Another thing which could have let to this decision was the flat nature of the track. For India, Dhawal Kulkarni was brought in for Ravindra Jadeja who was expensive in the last game while for Sri Lanka, Randiv and Prasad made way for Kulasekara and Chaturanga de Silva.

Mahela Jayawardene scored hundred
Surprisingly, Mahela Jayawardene was given the Man Of The Match trophy for his century which went in vain.(Photo Source: BCCI)

Sri Lanka’s hopes of putting pressure on India by piling up a mammoth score on this flat track took a big blow when they lost 2 wickets inside the first 3 overs of the game. The first one being that of Kusal Perera (4 runs from 6 balls) who was given another game after a duck in the previous one but once again failed to live up to the hype created around his batting style and appearance which is said to be similar to that of the ex-Sri Lankan swashbuckling opener, Sanath Jayasuriya. It was Déjà vu for him as once again he got out on the last ball of the 1st over and the bowler again being Umesh Yadav who bowled a ripper, taking a thin edge through to Saha. The 2nd breakthrough, the big one, came on the very 1st ball of Yadav’s 2nd over. The man to go was Kumar Sangakkara (0 runs from 1 ball), off his very 1st delivery of the match. Sangakkara prodded at one leaving him and bouncing sharply from short of a good length, and the edge was snapped up by Ashwin at first slip. The veterans, Dilshan and Jayawardene steadied things and formed a decent partnership before Ambati Rayudu who was playing his 1st international at his home ground took the wicket of Dilshan (53 runs from 80 balls) in his very 1st over. Next to come in was the Sri Lankan captain, Angelo Matthews (10 runs from 14 balls) and the leading run-scorer in ODIs in 2014. His stay was short-lived as he got out, top edging a pull off the bowling of Akshar Patel to mid-off. In his very next over, Akshar showed Priyanjan the way to the pavilion. Priyanjan (2 runs from 8 balls) wanted to clear mid-on as he bent and swung hard, did not get hold of a quick and full delivery, and Yadav dived to his left to take a sharp catch. Patel took his 3rd wicket in the power play in his next over. de Silva (2 runs from 7 balls) had made some room to one tossed up on leg to try to loft over extra cover but mishit it badly, and extra cover settled under it for an easy catch. Akshar took a wicket in each of his powerplay overs, including a maiden over as well. The flow of the fall of wickets continued as Yadav came back into the attack and continued to trouble the Islanders. It was Thisara Perera (1 run from 4 balls) now, who was trying to work this short of a length delivery off his pads, closing the face sooner than needed, and the leading edge popped up to extra cover. Jayawardene reached to his much deserved 17th century, first once since July 2013, with a six of the bowling of Akshar Patel in the 40th over of the innings. Just when Jayawardene and Prasanna were going good, Ashwin, in the last over of his quota got the prized wicket of Jayawardene (118 runs from 124 balls). Mahela charged down the track looking to hit Ashwin for a six but missed the ball and Saha completed an easy stumping to end a beautiful innings by Jayawardene. The next wicket to go was that of Prasanna (29 runs from 32 balls) who was bowled by Umesh Yadav, who finished with figures of 4/53, his career best. Kulkarni got his 1st wicket in ODIs in his last over as Kulasekara (7 runs from 12 balls) looked to clear the wide long on boundary off this full delivery, Rahane was on the run from long on, kept his eyes on the ball and took the catch calmly). With this, the Sri Lankan folded for a below par 242 all out in 48.2 overs.

Rahane and Dhawan gave India a good start with an opening partnership of 62 runs. The 1st breakthrough for Lanka came in the 12th over when Perera bounced out Rahane (31 runs from 47 balls). Rahane tried to cut it but was late on the shot as it pinged the glove and popped up to the ever-watchful Jayawardene at slip. Rayudu (35 runs from 46 balls) was the next man to come in and was going good at his home ground before a careless moment of play by him and Dhawan had him run-out. The stand-in skipper, Virat Kohli was next to come in at No. 4 with India in a comfortable position to win the match. Shikhar Dhawan (91 runs from 79 balls) was unlucky to miss out on a century after he was wrongly adjudged caught behind on a bouncer from Kulasekara which had brushed Dhawan’s helmet and not his bat. Part-timer then took the wicket of Virat Kohli (53 runs from 61 balls) but not before he had completed his half-century. Kohli hold out to long on as he looked to equal the scores with an attempted six. In the process Kohli also became the quickest to reach 6000 ODI runs, breaking Sir Viv Richards’ record. Saha finished the proceedings with a four to seal a 6 wicket victory for India.

Surprisingly, Mahela Jayawardene was given the Man Of The Match trophy for his century which went in vain.

India now have an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 5 match series. The next match will be held at Kolkata on 11th November. Sri Lanka have rested Sangakarra, Dhammika Prasad and dropped Suraj Randiv, Upul Tharanga for the last 2 ODIs. Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Shaminda Eranga and Ajanta Mendis will replace them in the squad.

Post-Match Comments-
Mahela: “I am surprised and a bit embarrassed to win the Man of the Match.We need to be consistent in our overall game. The way the Indians are playing, we need 300 to put them under pressure, and we are not there yet. They are putting us under lot of pressure, picking early wickets, putting us on the back foot straight away, and we are doing repair work after that.

Kohli: “That was a brilliant performance, especially with the ball, given we were one bowler short, had to string in six overs from part-timers, to restrict them to 242 was fantastic. I was not sure, I knew I had to get to 50 to get 6000, but I did not know how much faster I was from the great man [Viv Richards]. I am trying to do whatever I can on the field for the boys.”

Mathews: “We flopped in our batting once again. You cannot keep repeating mistakes. 300 is a must for Indian wickets. 240 is nothing for bowlers to bowl at. About three-four wickets fell in the Powerplay with minimum runs, which went against us. We are trying our combinations, we want to recognise our strengths and weaknesses going into the World Cup.”

Dhawan: “Happy the way I was batting. Batting in a very controlled manner, enjoying the rhythm. Earlier I was getting 25-30s, now I am getting 80-90s. Once I get set, I will bat according to the situation. At times you can hit big shots, but you don’t want to because of the situation.”