Thatscricket - News - Lanka scores thrilling 6-run victory over India
Published: Monday, July 23, 2001, 0:00 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
India, Lanka want batsmen to perform
Colombo: Off spinner Kumar Dharmasena bowled a five-run last over to help Sri Lanka pull off an exciting six-run victory over India in a day-night match of the triangular cricket series on Sunday.India, chasing 222 off its allotted 50 overs, needed 12 in the last over with three wickets in hand. Rahul Dravid (49 not out) and Sameer Dighe could manage only five singles as India scored 215 for 7.India, with a new-look top order, thus crashed to its second successive defeat. Sri Lanka has won both its matches and New Zealand one. The hosts will take on New Zealand in the next game on Wednesday.Skipper Saurav Ganguly sustained India's hopes with a robust 105-ball 69, which contained seven fours and one six. He steadied the innings with an 80-run stand for the fourth wicket with Dravid after his team had faltered against Sri Lankan fast bowlers.Ganguly stepped up the run-rate after completing his 39th half-century, hoisting his counterpart Sanath Jaysuriya for a six and then striking off spinner Kumar Dharmasena for a one-bounce four.His big shots considerably eased the pressure on the remaining batsmen. When he was caught sweeping part-time off spinner Russel Arnold, India required 71 to win off 75 balls with five wickets in hand.India, however, failed to build on his effort, losing two crucial wickets to off spinner Muthiah Muralitharan in the end overs.India's decision to begin its chase with make-shift openers backfired as both Amay Khurasiya and Yuvraj Singh fell to medium-pacer Suresh Perera under eight overs.The visitors made one more surprise move when they sent Harbhajan at number four as a pinch-hitter, who, however, returned without pinching the opposition.India was struggling at 30 for three when Ganguly made a valiant bid to resotre the balance. Earlier, India's fielding lapses allowed Sri Lanka to post a decent total on a slow wicket.Left-handed Opener Avishka Gunawardene was dropped twice on his way to a 107-ball 63, which included seven fours. He was involved in an 83-run stand for the fourth wicket with wicket-keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana (36).India was still in control after off spinner Harbhajan, who finished with three wickets, had reduced the opposition to 154 for 7.Sri Lanka, however, fought back in the closing overs through Dharmasena (26) and man-of-the-match Perera (28), who put on 49 useful runs for the eighth wicket. Harbhajan had shown the way when he removed Jayasuriya in his opening over and Marvan Atapattu in his next after the home team had won the toss and elected to bat.The Sri Lankan captain, always in search of runs, was stumped off a wide ball, while Atapattu was caught bat-pad by Khurasiya at forward shortleg.Jayasuriya cut medium-pacer Debashish Mohanty for a one-bounce four and then drove left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan for two boundaries in one over. He punished Mohanty again when he lofted him over long-off for the first six of the match. The bowler was soon replaced with Harbhajan after conceding 27 runs in his opening five-over spell.Gunawardena, however, continued to prove a thorn in the Indians' side after being dropped on eight by lone-slip Virender Sehwag off left-arm seamer Zaheer and then on 37 by Yuvraj at point off medium-pacer Reetinder Sodhi.India paid for these lapses, as Gunawardene drove and cut firmly to keep pressure on the fielders.