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Sri Lanka beat India by seven wickets
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 25 August 1999

Sri Lanka had to revert back to the tested and tried old firm of Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu to provide the start they needed to secure their first victory in the Aiwa Cup tri-nation one-day tournament. The pair put on 83 runs off 115 balls to enable Sri Lanka beat India by seven wickets and collect their first points in the tournament in the match played under lights at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday.

Jayasuriya who got out to a poor shot in the opening match against Australia at Galle on Sunday, played a more responsible role to score an aggressive 61 off 62 balls , to play the domineering role in the partnership. His partner Atapattu played the anchor role batting solidly to see the side through. He finished on 71 not out scored off 126 balls with six fours.

Indika de Saram in his second one-day game, remained unbeaten on 24 helping Atapattu add 58 in an unfinished fourth wicket stand. Sri Lanka replied with 206 for 3 off 46.4 overs.

Sri Lanka were left chasing 206 for victory, after they had restricted India to 205 for 8 through a combination of brilliant fielding and catching. They accounted for four run outs yesterday which brought their total of such dismissals to seven in two matches in the tournament - a rarety after the departure of coach Dav Whatmore two years ago.

Even against Australia on Sunday, it was the Sri Lankan fielding that kept Australia in check and restricted them to a similar total. But the difference between then and yesterday was that the top order batting clicked to convert the result into a winning one.

It needed the captain to set the pace if victory was to become a reality and Jayasuriya led the from the front. Sri Lanka found playing the Indians far more comfortable than the rugged Australians and they proved it on the field.

Jayasuriya lost the toss when he had ideas of batting first had he won it. India were given a rollicking start by Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar who raced away to 49 off 55 balls. Left-hander Ganguly's share in the partnership was a mere nine runs and he became the first run out victim of the day when he failed to beat Chaminda Vaas' direct throw from cover.

After Vaas claimed Rahul Dravid's wicket for 22 in his second spell, Tendulkar backing up too far was run out by Muthiah Muralitharan's direct hit from mid-off. The Indian captain struggling to find his best form made 37 after being dropped at 24 by Jayasuriya who juggled with the edge with his injured right hand before putting it down.

Ajay Jadeja and Amay Khuraisiya steadied the Indian innings after Tendulkar and Dravid had gone within 10 runs of each other. The pair put on 62 off 98 balls for the fourth wicket. India were going well at 155 for 3 in the 37th over, when left-hander Khurasiya lost his concentration and pulled a ball from Upul Chandana to De Saram at deep midwicket. His departure for 29 saw India go into a slide as Sri Lanka piled on the pressure. India lost their next four wickets for the addition of only 13 runs.

Robin Singh pulled Muralitharan to mid wicket and Mannava Prasad and Anil Kumble were both run out to brilliant work on the field. Jadeja's fine knock of 49 off 85 balls with one six and two fours finally came to an end at 173 in the 41st over when he top edged a sweep to Jayewardene at backward squareleg.

Vaas again was disappointing conceding 27 runs off three overs in his first spell and finishing with figures of one for 46 off eight overs. He went wicketless in the game against Australia on Sunday conceding 61 runs and it looks as if he should be droppped from today's game against Australia and Pramodya Wickremasinghe given the opportunity instead.

The other change that may take place is replacing Avishka Gunawardana whose contribution in the two matches has been 8 and 7, with Russel Arnold.

Source: The Daily News