Text & Pic By Geeshan Bandara
The much anticipated final of the Micromax Tri-Nation series culminated with host nation Sri Lanka securing a well deserved victory against India. With the World Cup only a year away both teams had something to prove, and Sri Lanka certainly did.
Sri Lanka won the toss and as expected skipper Kumara Sangakkara decided to bat first. A blistering 110 off 115 balls from opening batsman T.M. Dilshan and an exciting 71 courtesy of Sangakkara propelled the host nation to an impressive total that was one run shy of a triple century. The only other batsmen that managed to get going was Chamara Silva, keeping the tail end of the Sri Lankan innings alive with his score 26 not out from 21 balls.
All rounder Angelo Matthews was unable to come out of his batting slump, scoring only one run before succumbing to a full length delivery from Ishant Sharma that found its way into the safe hands of Rohit Sharma.
Switching Mahela Jayawardene for Upul Tharanga into the opening batsmen position was a gamble and did not prove to be favourable the second time around. Especially not for Tharanga who scored a poor 6 runs before being caught behind by Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni. However, in the end a total of 299 for 8 wickets in 50 overs is nothing to scoff at. India had a monumental task ahead of them batting second on the pitch that is notorious for slowing down at night. Opener Virender Sehwag appeared to be in form opening the innings with two quick boundaries. On the other end, Dinesh Karthik’s disappointing tournament continued when he was caught behind off a Lasith Malinga delivery. There was some suspicion that it came off his gloves, but umpire Rauf signalled his exit with the raising of the index finger.
Sehwag’s quick innings was cut short by a brilliant run out – a direct hit by Chamara Kapugedara that started off as a convincing lbw appeal by Nuwan Kulasekara. There was some confusion when Sehwag attempted to steal a run only to change his mind and be beaten by Kapugedara’s aim.
Once again the Indian batting failed them, with only a respectable innings from captain M.S. Dhoni keeping his side’s dignity. Dhoni opted to go with a deeper batting lineup, replacing Ravindra Jadeja with Rohit Sharma, in an attempt to combat their batsmen’s inconsistent performance in the series. This did not prove to be successful as the Sri Lankan side proved to be more resilient.
Sri Lanka innings
M. Jayawardene c Karthik b I Sharma 39
T.M. Dilshan c I Sharma b Kumar 110
U. Tharanga c †Dhoni b Yuvraj Singh 6
K. Sangakkara*† c RG Sharma b Patel 71
CK Kapugedera c Karthik b Nehra 12
A. Mathews c RG Sharma b I Sharma 1
C. Silva not out 26
T. Perera c †Dhoni b Patel 6
S. Randiv run out (Patel) 4
N. Kulasekara not out 0
Extras (lb 12, w 12) 24
Total (8 wickets; 50 overs) 299
Did not bat L. Malinga
Fall of wickets1-121, 2-132, 3-217, 4-242, 42.3 ov), 5-258, 43.6, 6-261, 7-294, 8-298
P. Kumar 10 -0 72 -1 -7.20 (5w), M. Patel 9-1 -43 -2 -4.77 (1w), A. Nehra 10-0-60 -1-6.00 (5w), I. Sharma 8-0-54-2-6.75 (1w), Yuvraj Singh 8-0-37-1-4.62, V. Sehwag 5-0-21-0-4.20 India innings
V. Sehwag run out (Kapugedera) 28
K.D. Karthik c †Sangakkara b Malinga 0
V. Kohli c Mathews b Perera 37
M.S. Dhoni*† b Randiv 67
S. Raina c Dilshan b Randiv 29
R. Sharma st †Sangakkara b Randiv 5
P. Kumar b Malinga 14
I Sharma b Perera 0
A Nehra c Perera b Mathews 2
Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 8, nb 4) 17
Total (all out; 46.5 overs) 225
SL Malinga 9-0-49-2-5.44 (2nb, 1w), KMDN Kulasekara 9-0-47-0-5.22 (2w), AD Mathews,10-0-48-1-4.80 (2nb, 2w), NLTC Perera 9-2-36-3-4.00 (2w), NLTC Perera 9-2-36-3-4.00 (2w)