3rd Match: India v Sri Lanka at Colombo, 22 Jul 2001|
Sri Lanka innings:
Perera, Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernandoís combined effort helped Sri Lanka despatch four Indian batsmen with the score on 90 at the halfway mark of their innings.
Instead of Saurav Ganguly, Amay Khurasiya along with Yuvraj Singh opened the innings for the Indians. Yuvraj Singh struck two beautiful boundaries and appeared set for a big one when Suresh Perera struck. The 24-year-old Perera bowled one that kept a bit low and Singh pushed the ball on the on-side and was easily caught by Muttiah Muralitharan at square leg. India were 26 when they lost the first wicket, Singh making 12 in 23 balls.
VVS Laxman came at the fall of Singh. Chaminda Vaas was unfortunate to have a very close leg before decision against Laxman turned down with the batsman on one. Perera continued to bowl impressively and he got his second wicket of the day when he dismissed Amay Khurasiya. The batsman shuffled across a straight delivery, missed the ball and umpire Peter Manuel ruled him out.
Harbhajan Singh moved up the order at number four to push the run rate. But Chaminda Vaas deceived the batsman as he mistimed the ball, trying to hit the bowler over his head, to be caught by Sanath Jayasuriya at mid off.
Skipper Saurav Ganguly who dropped himself to number five took the score to 71 along with VVS Laxman when Dilhara Fernando sent Laxman back. The batsman, playing forward, edged one to Romesh Kaluwitharana for 17 in 29 balls with two boundaries.
Dilhara Fernando bowled extremely well. The paceman troubled the Indian batsmen by keeping the ball up. Rahul Dravid who came at the fall of Laxman was tested by some rising deliveries from the right arm fast bowler.
Saurav Ganguly appeared to have come back to form as he remained unbeaten on 31 at the end of the 25th over. India who are maintaining a run rate of 3.6 need a further 132 in the remaining 25 overs at an asking rate of 5.28.
At one stage the home team were seven down for 154 with 11 overs in hand, but a determined effort by Kumar Dharmasena and Suresh Perera, playing as all rounders in this game, helped them to get to a score which their bowlers can defend.
Earlier the home team who were in trouble having lost three quick wickets recovered through an 83-run partnership between Romesh Kaluwitharana and Avishka Gunawardene. The pair who came together with Sri Lanka on 61 for three pushed the score up to 144 when Gunawardene was clean bowled, trying to cut Virender Shewag. He made 63 in 107 balls.
That dismissal started another collapse as Sri Lanka lost four wickets in the space of 10 runs. Russel Arnold was run out having made just one. Arnold, who looked for a quick single after Romesh Kaluwitharana pushed the ball to cover point, was sent back by his partner but the batsmanís diving effort was not enough as Yuvraj Singh removed the bails, gathering skipper Gangulyís throw.
Romesh Kaluwitharana followed soon. The right-hander, driving at Yuvraj Singh, lazily edged the ball to Sameer Dighe behind the stumps and he was gone for 36 in 52 balls with two fours.
Harbhajan Singh claimed his third wicket when Chaminda Vaas was given leg before wicket as he pushed forward at a full-length delivery. The spinner who bowled well in the New Zealand game two days ago retained figures of 10-1-29-3 here.
However, Suresh Perera and Kumar Dharmasena saw Sri Lanka go past the 200 mark with a 49-run eighth wicket partnership. Both Dharmasena and Perera played crucial knocks with their side in trouble. The partnership ended when Dharmasena skied Zaheer Khan to skipper Ganguly. He made a useful 26 off 44 balls with two boundaries.
In the next over bowled by Yuvraj Singh a stumping chance off Suresh Perera was missed by Sameer Dighe. Making full use of the chance Perera smashed the next delivery for a six. However Yuvraj extracted revenge when he dismissed Perera in the same over, going for a big hit.
Sri Lanka managed 221 with Muttiah Muralitharan, who made a boundary off the last ball, on six and Dilhara Fernando on five. Apart from Harbhajan Singh who bowled impressively, Yuvraj Singh claimed two wickets in his ten overs giving away 41 runs.
Skipper Ganguly introduced the spin of Singh in the 11th over of the game from the Khettarama End, replacing Debashis Mohanty whose five overs cost 27 runs. Singh made his presence felt immediately by claiming the prize scalp of skipper Jayasuriya.
The captain tried to work the ball on the on side, missed and was ultimately stumped round his legs by Sameer Dighe off a wide. The third umpire took a while before ruling the Sri Lankan captain out.
During his stay at the crease, the Sri Lankan captain played entertainingly as he smashed three boundaries and a straight six over long-on off Debashis Mohanty. His 34 runs came in 41 balls and Sri Lanka were 48 for one when he was dismissed.
Marvan Atapattu came at the fall of Jayasuriya and made just five before becoming Harbhajanís second victim. The off spinnerís tactics of bowling with an unusual field placing in one-dayers - a forward short leg in place for the right hander - paid dividends as the batsman pushed forward and edged the ball to Amay Khurasiya with Sri Lanka on 60.
Sri Lanka suffered another setback in the next over when Reetinder Sodhi claimed the wicket of Mahela Jayawardene for a duck. The right- hander pushed at a delivery lazily and edged the ball to Dighe behind the stumps.
Sri Lanka would have been in further trouble if Yuvraj Singh had held onto a straightforward chance given by Avishka Gunawardene with Sri Lanka on 89 and his personal score on 38. The batsman hit Reetinder Sodhi hard and Yuvraj at backward of point couldnít grab the straight chance.
Gunwardene looked shaky right from the start, but fortune favoured him all the while. Both the new ball bowlers Zaheer Khan and Debashis Mohanty beat him on a few occasions without finding the edge of the bat. When they found the edge, either the ball fell short or the fielder erred.
In Zaheer Khanís second over, he beat Gunawardene and the ball fell just short of Virender Shewag at second slip. Later in his fifth over he again found the edge and this time Shewag at first slip failed to grab a chance to his left with the batsman on 8.
However, Sri Lanka managed to score 100 for three at the half way mark with left-handed Gunawardene on 46 and Romesh Kaluwitharana, promoted ahead of Russel Arnold, on eight.
The Sri Lankans retained the same team which won the last game against New Zealand at the same venue on Wednesday while India made two changes after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of the New Zealanders on Friday, also at the same venue.
The Indians have brought in the hard-hitting Amay Khurasiya in place of his fellow left hander Hemang Badani. In the other swap, Debashish Mohanty replaces Ashish Nehra.
Date-stamped : 22 Jul2001 - 22:35