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Published: Saturday, July 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Colombo: Indian captain Saurav Ganguly smashed an unbeaten 74 off 58 balls to give the tourists a dramatic three-wicket win over Sri Lanka 'A' in a warm-up match on Wednesday.The left-hander plundered five sixes and a boundary as the Indians recovered from an uneasy 178 for seven to overhaul the hosts' 261 for eight with nine balls to spare.Young all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi chipped in with 23 in an undefeated eighth-wicket stand of 84 with his captain, who batted at number six instead of taking his customary opening slot.India takes on New Zealand on Friday in its opening match of the Limited Overs triangular series. Vice-captain Rahul Dravid's 59 was the only other notable contribution in a side depleted by the absence of injured superstar Sachin Tendulkar.Tendulkar, the world's leading batsman in Limited Overs cricket, was ruled out of the early part of the series due to a foot injury. Amay Khurasiya and Yuvraj Singh, Tendulkar's likely replacements at the top of the batting order, failed to get among the runs.Khurasiya, a surprise inclusion in the Indian team, struggled for 57 balls to make 34 against Sri Lanka's second string. Yuvraj Singh, recalled for international duty after missing the recent tour of Zimbabwe, fared even worse, scoring just four.The home team's score was boosted by aggressive half-centuries from opener Jehan Mubarak and Tillekeratne Dilshan. Mubarak, a 20-year-old left-hander, hit 70 to give his team a sound start. Dilshan, fighting to regain his place in the national team, hit 77 off 80 balls.Test star Upul Chandana then clobbered 34 off 31 balls in the slog overs to lift Sri Lanka 'A' past the 250-run mark. Left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan was India's most successful bowler with four for 40 in nine overs. Ajit Agarkar went for 50 runs from eight overs, while Sodhi conceded 47 from eight.