Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dilshan leads Sri Lanka to 8-wicket win over India

Canberra: It rained, and then it rained boundaries. It rained again, and this time it rained sixes and fours.

The lead-up to the fifth one-dayer between India and Sri Lanka had almost fizzed out at the Manuka Oval here on Tuesday morning, threatening a third washout in only five matches in the Commonwealth Bank Series. But the skies cleared up for a treat from willowers from both sides as Sri Lanka eclipsed India's tally with eight wickets and two full overs to spare.

First, it was the turn of 20-year-old Rohit Sharma who creamed an unbeaten 70 from just 64 balls as India posted a handsome 195-5 in the rain-truncated fixture, which was further reduced from 29 to 21 overs. The World Cup finalists then cashed in, with makeshift opener Tillekaratne Dilshan belting 62 not out from 59 balls to guide his side home, carrying over from a blistering start given by Sanath Jayasuriya (27, 13b).

Sri Lanka benefited from another reduction in overs and indeed wayward bowling as Jayasuriya let loose, taking S Sreesanth to the cleaners in his first two overs, before two quick wickets somewhat hindered their progress.

However, more wayward bowling and 19 extras along with captain Mahela Jayawardene and Dilshan's unbeaten 85-run stand ensured a convincing win making it rather even in the points table.

Sreesanth, at the receiving end of a fierce attack from the Sri Lankan batsmen, accounted for almost one-third of Sri Lanka's total in just three overs while the likes of Ishant Sharma and the rest of the bowling attack erred in both line as well as stepping.

Put in to bat by Jayawardene, openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar got India off the blocks quickly, but both perished in attempts to force the situation.