India suffer second consecutive defeat in CB Series

Sri Lanka players are elated after the dismissal of India’s star batsman Sachin Tendulkar at the Gabba on Tuesday Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Brisbane: Feb 21, 2012

India’s cricket tri-series campaign was thrown into disarray as they slipped to the bottom of the points table, losing to a rejuvenated Sri Lanka by 51 runs in another one-sided encounter on Tuesday.

Chasing Sri Lanka’s imposing 289 for six, Indians suffered another top-order collapse and folded up for 238 in 45.1 overs to give the islanders their second successive victory.

The target of 290 was too stiff for the Indians under lights despite a good 96-run fourth wicket stand between Virat Kohli (66) and Suresh Raina (32) and a late counter-attack by Irfan Pathan who made 47 off 34 balls with seven boundaries.

Sri Lankans were well served by Nuwan Kulasekara first up who claimed three for 40, including the scalps of Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir, and Thisara Perera who took four for 37.

Kulasekara’s effort earned him the man-of-the-match award.

Sri Lanka now forge ahead of Indians on the points table though the latter were able to cross 231 and avoided conceding a bonus point. Lankans now have 11 points from five matches while Indians have 10 from six games. Australia have 14 points from five games.

India’s chase couldn’t have begun on a worse note as stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag slashed at a wide delivery from Lasith Malinga and the catch ballooned up for third man fielder to complete the job.

Sachin Tendulkar (22) kept everyone interested during his brief stay. He once punched Lasith Malinga through covers and then flicked him through mid-wicket, both of whom were shots of highest pedigree. But then he tried to leave a Kulasekara delivery and succeeded only in dragging the ball on to his stumps.

The hole only grew deeper when Gautam Gambhir (29) walked out to Kulasekara and tried to dab him at the last minute past slips. It went rather uppishly and Perera at gully smartly held the chance.

India were reduced to 54 for three in the 12th over and fighting for breath.

Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina then conjured a partnership, both having benefitted from dropped chances. Raina, on five, steered at throat of backward point and Kohli’s pull-shot when on 14 popped out of Dinesh Chandimal’s hands at widish long on.

Kohli was again put down on 34 at midwicket by Chandimal off Lasith Malinga at the total 116 for three in the 25th over.

The two young batsmen benefitted from these reprieves and stabilized the innings, with singles although boundaries seemed hard coming by.

Kohli reached his half century off 66 balls but in the 31st over as India suffered the loss of Raina (32) who spooned up a tame catch off Ferveez Maharoof to short covers.

Raina made 32 off 55 balls with one four. The duo together put on 92 runs for the fourth wicket off 116 deliveries.

The pace was too hectic and it told on Kohli who perished in the 36th over, lofting Perera to mid-on. He made 66 off 83 balls with two fours.

India lost another wicket before the batting Powerplay was out when Ravindra Jadeja (17) dragged Kulasekara on to his stumps. India were 191 for six in the 38th over.

Parthiv Patel (4) fell cheaply and Ravichandran Ashwin (5) also didn’t last long to leave India 232 for eight after 43 overs.

Pathan was brilliant with his late hitting and struck whistling clean shots in his 47 off 34 balls with seven fours.

Earlier, Sri Lanka batted solidly through the length of their innings to raise 289 for six with openers Tillakaratne Dilshan (51) and Mahela Jayawardene (45) put on 95 runs for the first wicket.

Dinesh Chandimal (38), Lahiru Thirimanne (62) and Angelo Matthews (49 not out) contributed handsomely, besides raising productive stands to chalk up an impressive total.

Opting to bat, Sri Lankans were off to a brisk start as the newly formed opening pair — seasoned campaigners Dilshan and Jayawardene — shifted gears with effortless ease.

Dilshan was a little circumspect at the onset in the first over bowled by R Vinay Kumar but then eased the Karnataka medium-pacer through covers in his second and played a firece square cut off Irfan Pathan, which disappeared quickly behind the ropes.

Umesh Yadav came on in the sixth over and it wasn’t a pleasant experience at all for the young quick bowler. Dilshan flashed at his fourth delivery that took an edge and flew over third man for a massive six. The next delivery was thrashed past covers and Sri Lanka’s launch pad was ready.

Dilshan picked up yet another four off a Vinay Kumar delivery by flicking him past the midwicket boundary.

Jayawardene, all this while, was intelligently rotating the strike and had hit just one four, a shot past midwicket off Yadav, as the 50 of the innings came up in the 10th over.

The Lankan pair kept up the consolidation work and at the first drinks break after 17 overs, the score was 84 for no loss.

India got their first breakthrough when Jayawardene, looking to pull Irfan Pathan, handed a catch at forward short leg to stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag, who leaped to his left to pluck an outstanding catch.

Jayawardene made 45 off 55 balls studded with two fours.

Dilshan reached his half-century when he drove Ashwin to long on for a single in the 20th over. At this stage, he had faced 63 deliveries and hit five fours and a six.

The opener was dismissed soon thereafter, top edging a catch to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel as he shaped to cut Ashwin. He made 51 off 72 balls with five fours and a six.

India then pulled back the scoring as the two spinners, Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, tied up things from the two ends up.

Only 20 runs came from the next six overs before Yadav was brought on for his second spell.

The fast bowler immediately met with success as Kumar Sangakkara (8) pulled a delivery straight into the hands of Sachin Tendulkar at fine leg that left Sri Lankan scorecard reading 124 for 3 in the 28th over.

The next few overs were one of consolidation by the young pair of Chandimal and Thirimanne.

Chandimal, who has had an outstanding series so far, was solid as rock, while left-hander Thirimanne played a few excellent cover drives and used the pace of Yadav to his advantage.

The two had positioned themselves for a perfect onslaught when the batting powerplay was claimed after the 35th over.

The 50-run stand between the two came off 52 balls when Thirimanne glided a lifting delivery from Vinay Kumar to third man fence. He repeated the stroke against Irfan Pathan in the next over as Lankans inched closer towards posting a formidable total. (PTI)

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 289 for 6 in 50 overs (Lahiru Thirimanne 62, Tillakaratne Dilshan 51, Angelo Mathews 49*, Mahela Jayawardene 45; R Ashwin 2 for 50) bt India 238 all-out in 45.1 overs (Virat Kohli 66, Irfan Pathan 47; Thisara Perera 4 for 37, Nuwan Kulasekara 3 for 40) by 51 runs.

Man of the Match: Nuwan Kulasekara

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