Ind vs SL: Gambhir, Virat help India beat Sri Lanka in Asia Cup
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 13:57
Contributed by holdingwilley
Our View: Sri Lanka got 'Delhi'ed
MIRPUR: It was backyard cricket for the Indian superstars at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on Tuesday. The batsmen were back at their best on a docile surface, the pacers found the right length and offie R Ashwin got the ball to turn as India registered a 50-run win to open their Asia Cup campaign on a high.
The ball wasn't rising over waist-height, there was no lateral movement in the track and Lasith Malinga and Angelo Matthews were not there in the Sri Lankan line-up. The runs were there for the taking, and barring Sachin Tendulkar, all the other big boys had a nice afternoon buffet to boost their sagging morale after the Australia thrashing.
The deadly duo of Virat Kohli (108 off 120 balls) and Gautam Gambhir (100 off 118 balls) were in their elements, both completing their 10th ODI centuries, as India raced away to 304-3.
It was a steep chase to begin with but Mahela Jayawardene (78 off 59 balls) and Kumar Sangakkar (65) were in their element.
Runs were flowing for the second-wicket partnership when the skipper tried to glide one down to third man and Dhoni completed the catch. Sangakkara was still fighting it out with Lahiru Thiramanne for company, but Dhoni's astute captaincy did the trick.
He had noticed that Sangakkara was looking to play over mid-wicket and put the fielder back the moment the third Powerplay began. Ashwin gave some flight, Sangakkara fell into the trap, and Jadeja completed the catch at deep midwicket. That left Sri Lanka with 110 to get off 89 balls and the lower middle-order just couldn't make a fight of it.
Even though the bowlers did their job, it was the 205-run second-wicket partnership between Gambhir and Kohli that set up the win.
They took up the job after Sachin Tendulkar (6) played a full-toss off Lakmal straight to short extra cover and strangely asked the umpires to make sure the catch was taken cleanly, via the third umpire. Replays showed it was a clean catch.
For the next two-and-a-half hours after Tendulkar's dismissal, the Delhi boys didn't put a foot wrong. Gambhir often walked down the track, throwing the pacers off their length as Jaywardene sorely missed Malinga.
Kohli brought all his artistry and wristwork into play. He looked beautifully balanced while driving on the front foot, and the moment there was something short, he rocked back and pulled.
Once they got out, Dhoni and Suresh Raina showed why they are regarded as masters when it comes to the art of finishing. They played innovative shots, used their wrists and dug out yorkers at will as 71 runs came off the last six overs.
Source: The Times of India
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:10