Sri Lanka came up with a nerve-wracking performance in the rain-reduced one-dayer, which was more a frenzied version of the Twenty20 format, to clinch a thriller against India at Manuka Oval, Canberra on Tuesday, February 12, 2008. The 5th ODI of the CB Series between these two South Asian cricketing giants turned out to be a fascinating contest of grit and courage where Sri Lanka made a strong comeback by registering an 8-wicket victory against India after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Australians.
India, on the other hand, perhaps paid a heavy price for a more or less self-indulgent approach and underestimating the potential of Sri Lanka after winning the last match against Australia. Incessant rains saw an unexpectedly delayed start to the match with only 29-overs allotted for each of the innings. Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to field first, which was a bold decision to say the least. India started off well with Sehwag and Tendulkar rotating the strike and scoring a few boundaries but it was not long before Kulasekara claimed the scalp of Sehwag, who yet again succumbed to the early innings jinx, he is suffering form lately. Tendulkar followed suit in the next over as Maharoof scored a point against him with his deceptive pace. The young Indian batting brigade took charge of the situation from here on with Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma set the field ablaze with charismatic strokes characterized by balanced aggression. After taking India past early jitters, Gautam Gambhir became the victim to an intelligent run-out effort from Dilshan-Malinga combo. Taking a cue from Gambhir's undoing, Rohit Sharma adopted an even more shrewd approach to lead the attack with Dhoni providing some excellent support from the other end. After suffering from a more or less lackluster form with the bat in recent past, Dhoni used this opportunity to open up his wrists and hit a few shots from his creative repertoire of strokes and make a point against the opposition. At the fag end of the rain-shortened innings, however, a mix up on the pitch resulted in another devastating run-out for Dhoni with Kapugedera and Sangakkara doing the honour this time around. Yuvraj continued with his lack of form as Malinga got the better of him within half an over.
Rohit Sharma emerged as the unlikely hero by remaining unbeaten at 70 to help India pile up a commendable score of 195 runs for 5 wickets in the allotted quota of 29 overs, but maybe it was not good enough to keep Sri Lanka at bay as would become clear later in the day. Adding to the drama, Sri Lankan innings were cut even shorter due to intermittent spells of rain and thundershower, which saw Duckworth/Lewis taking the charge in a 21-over innings with an adjusted target to achieve. Sri Lankans were straight cut to the task as Dilshan-Jayasuriya feasted on the Indian bowling attack like they have not had anything for quite a while. Jayasuriya was already assuming a menacing form in his 20-run cameo terminating with an edge off Ishant, which was safely gloved by the Indian skipper. Dilshan continued with his unusual form with the bat, as Sangakkara succumbed to the deceptive swing of Harbhajan without making much of an impact. In came Jayawardene, who soon found himself 'in the zone' with Dilshan as the duo raced to achieve the target at an almost incredible pace. Indian bowling attack was flattened by an avalanche of runs launched by Sri Lankans as bowlers desperately searched for the miraculous break which never came. The match ended on a high with an ecstatic Sri Lankan side scoring 154 runs for 2 wickets with 2 overs to spare in this extra-shortened innings to score a furious 8-wicket victory against India. Sri Lanka had certainly learnt its lesson from the loss against Australians but Team India perhaps failed to utilize its recent win to put their approach in a better cricketing perspective.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012