Thirimanne, Dilshan power Sri Lanka to strong total against India in CB Series

Lahiru Thirimanne hit six boundaries during his innings of 62 at the Gabba Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Brisbane: Feb 21, 2012

Sri Lanka batted solidly through the length of their innings to raise 289 for six against India in a crucial triangular series match on Tuesday at Gabba.

After 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 — the experienced Dilshan and Jayawardene — shifted gears with effortless ease.

Dilshan was circumspect to begin with in the first over of R Vinay Kumar but then eased the Karnataka medium-pacer through covers in his second and struck a fierce 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 thrust 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.

India finally broke the stand in the 39th over when a Pathan yorker slipped below the bat of Chandimal and cleaned him up. Chandimal made 38 off 49 balls and the fourth wicket stand yielded 71 runs from as many balls.

It was a dramatic moment in the 40th over, almost ugly, when Ashwin motioned to bowl a delivery and seeing Thirimanne out of his crease, removed the bails.

Apparently both the bowler and Sehwag appealed, the two umpire got into discussion. Sehwag then confronted them before Tendulkar defused the situation by nudging the skipper to withdraw the appeal.

Thirimanne at that stage was on 44 and total was 196 for 4. The five overs of batting powerplay yielded 30 runs for Chandimal’s wicket.

Thirimanne pushed Ashwin to long-on to complete his 50 off 53 balls with five fours in the 44th over.

Vinay Kumar conceded runs in the 45th over and Sri Lanka were nicely poised at 238 for 4.

Thirimanne departed in the 46th over, caught brilliantly by a diving Raina at sweeper position. The young left-hander made his 62 off 62 balls with six fours. The fifth wicket stand was worth 49 off 43 balls.

Matthews remained unbeaten on 49 off 37 balls with four hits to the fence and a six.

Yadav was the most disappointing of the Indian bowlers, conceding 58 runs from his eight overs for a wicket.

Sehwag surprised everyone by letting the final two overs bowled by Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli. In all, 24 runs came from these two final overs. (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) vs India


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