Sharjah: India rode on Sachin Tendulkar's century to set Sri Lanka a target of 225 in the inaugural match of the Coca Cola Cup tournament at Sharjah on Friday. Despite Sachin's knock the Indian appear to be short by 30 runs of a match-winning target. India ended their innings on 224 for eight at the end of 50 oversIndian skipper Saurav Ganguly opted to bat on winning the toss on a good batting wicket. Though the ball was coming on nicely to the bat, the Indians found the going tough against the slow outfield.
Saurav Ganguly began with a bang as he slammed the first ball off Chaminda Vaas to the cover boundary for four. The Indian openers continued their aggressive intentions against the Sri Lankan pace bowlers, who were able to generate sufficient bounce from the pitch.India's cause, however, was let down by some misjudgments by Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. Ganguly, who was lucky to survive a catch once again, off a no ball was undone by the bounce and ended up playing tamely to Avishka Gunawardene.Dravid was also batting fluently but was out to a very poor cricketing sense as he failed to ground his bat in going for a single. Dravid was beaten by a direct throw from Sanath Jayasuriya.
Though Gunawardene dropped a sitter at short mid wicket of Tendulkar, the Sri Lankan ground fielding was very tidy.Jayasuriya also ran out Vinod Kambli, who otherwise was appearing to be in good nick with the bat. Young Yuvraj Singh paid the price for his inexperience. He was foxed by the wrong one from Muralitharan and the resultant edge crashed on to his stumps.Robin Singh then put his head down to play sensibly with Sachin Tendulkar, who scored his 26th One-day International century. But, the Sri Lankan spinners maintained a tidy line and length to prevent the Indian batsmen from going for the big hits.Robin Singh fell in the slog when he tried a big hit soon after Sachin Tendulkar completed his century.
Sachin also fell to a superb piece of fielding by Gunawardene. Sachin played Zoysa wide of mid on and darted for a single. Gunawardene picked and broke the stumps from zero angle with Sachin well out of his crease. India then lost a few wickets down the line to negate the advantage of winning the toss.