Thatscricket - News - Lanka carves amazing 5-wicket victory

Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore: Sri Lanka carved an amazing come-from-behind victory when it registered a five-wicket victory against New Zealand at the R Premadasa Stadium on Wednesday in the fourth match of the Coca Cola triangular series being played in Colombo. Chasing a target of 237- highest of the tournament- Sri Lanka got off to a nightmarish start, losing skipper Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana in the second over. Kyle Mills first trapped Jayasuriya although one thought was not plumb and then had Kaluwitharana caught behind off a beauty to reduce Sri Lanka to six for two.Atapattu, however, seemed calm picking the New Zealanders for at least a boundary in an over to take the score to 25 for two at the end of the sixth over.The New Zealand new ball bowlers then tightened things up. First Tuffey bowled a maiden, with Mills following it up with a tight over giving just a single. Although Atapattu was going at a strike rate of 90, it was Gunawardene who found the going tough and it reflected with the scorecard reading 26 for two at the end of the eighth over. As a result he slashed at a slightly short and wide delivery from Tuffey only to see Chris Harris pull off a diving catch. This was not to be all, as Jayawardene was run out, on the same score, going for a sharp single. Sri Lanka, now, was in definite trouble at 27 for four at the end of the ninth over.The pair of Atapattu and Arnold, then, steadied things by putting on 39 runs in the next 10 overs to take Sri Lanka to 66 for four at the end of the 19th over Atapattu taking his score to 32 of 52 balls and Arnold 18 off 33 balls.The pair continued in the same vein, chipping away with ones and twos to take the score to 95 for four at the midway stage. The pair continued to keep the scoreboard ticking to take the score to 120 at the end of 30 overs - Atapattu duly completing his half-century in the process and taking his score to 61 of a 82 balls while his partner Arnold taking his score to 38 of 67 balls and the partnership to 93.They continued their good work to take the partnership past 100. With the overs drying, the pair needed to step the pace in order to catch up with the mounting run rate, which the pair did for a couple of overs. But going for the second run in the 34th over, the diving Atapattu (66 of 91 balls) found himself inches short of his crease to bring to an end a 109-run partnership, which breathed new life into the game. Arnold continued to plough along in the company of Perera but the loss of Atapattu pulled back Sri Lanka thereby allowing the asking rate to rise further; Arnold in the process took his score past the half-century mark (60 off 92 balls).However, the pair stepped on the gas to score more briskly to bring up the 50-run partnership in 60 deliveries, thus taking Sri Lanka within striking range and the match to a thrilling finish.Suresh Perera helped Sri Lankas cause clubbing the New Zealanders to all parts of the ground and in the company of Arnold, brought the asking rate plummeting to the ground.Suresh Perera struck the ball so well that Sri Lanka won the match with nine balls and five wickets to spare - Perera bringing up his maiden half-century much to the delight of the balcony. Pereras knock of 56 not out came off just 51 runs, while Arnolds 91 came of 116 runs.Earlier, a little gem of an innings by Parore at the death helped New Zealand post a highly challenging 236 for eight in 50 overs.New Zealands innings of 236 had three contributors Nathan Astle struck a valuable 54 in the beginning, Craig McMillan held the middle with a useful 38 and Parore finished it off with an explosive 37 coming of only 25 deliveries.Unlike their previous two innings the New Zealanders built their innings making sure they did not lose wickets in a bunch. What laid the platform for New Zealand was an excellent opening partnership of 70 in 13 overs. That apart, although later on, the Black Caps lost wickets whenever they tried to up the pace of the innings, they made sure they rebuilt the innings whenever a big wicket fell and they did this right up to the 43rd over. As a result, in the last seven overs, they could afford to let go as they had wickets in hand.For the Sri Lankans the spinners did the bulk of the damage with Dharmesena picking up three and Arnold two. Murali bowled a tight spell picking up one for 31, while skipper Jayasuriya picked up one. Having opted to make first use of the pitch, New Zealand got off to a cautious start to begin with. Having failed to make an impression in the first two outings, Sinclair consumed time understandably so but made sure that New Zealand was not in for early damage, as was the case so far. The first six over yielded 19 runs, which included five extras.However, having assessed the conditions, the Kiwi pair then stepped up the pace with both Astle and Sinclair finding the ropes with greater ease; picking Perera, in particular for some punishment. The next seven overs fetched New Zealand a handsome 51 runs to have the scoreboard reading 70 for no loss at the end of the 13th over.Realising it was time for a change, Jayasuriya made his first move bringing on Fernando who struck with his very first delivery. Sinclair (21 of 49 balls), who had just began to feel his way around, tried to loft Fernando over cover but only succeeded in sking it to Jaysuriya who did well to come under and safely pouch a towering catch.Astle, however, went about undeterred in his endeavour to put the runs on the board. Dharmasena who was brought on in the 15th over was greeted with a six, as Astle danced down the track and hoisted him over long-on. New Zealand ended the 15th over at 83/1.Astle went about carting Fernando too to the boundaries, which prompted Jayasuriya to bring on Muralitharan the advent of whom brought about a slowdown with new man Jacob Oram not being as fluent. However, New was going at a healthy 98 for one at the end of the 19th over.When all New Zealand wanted was to consolidated from here on in, Oram (11 of 19 balls) stepped out to Dharmasena only to hole out to Jayawardene patrolling at longoff to leave the Black Caps at 98 for two in the 20th over.The experienced McMillan then joined Astle - who was going great guns - and wasted no time getting out of the blocks, picking his singles from the word go.However, New Zealand was to suffer a big blow when it lost Astle who had completed his fifty and was looking good for plenty - in the 24th over when he tried to cut Russel Arnold only to watch it crash into his stumps. New Zealand at the end of the 24th over was 120 for three.This loss retarded the Black Caps progress by a couple of paces as they went about rebuilding their innings and rebuild they did successfully. Although Lou Vincent took his time, stand-in skipper McMillan struck at a healthy pace at the other end to keep things within control for New Zealand. At the end of the 36th over New Zealand had progressed to 162 for three - 42 runs coming of the last 12 overs.However, things were not to last too long as Murali struck in the very next over when he clean bowled danger man McMillan (38 of 54 balls) trying to play the short arm pull. New Zealand was thus reduced to 164 for four at the end of the 37th over.This further slowed down New Zealand in its track, with the next six over yielding only 20 runs. The Black Caps then tried to push things along and immediately Vicent (30 of 56 balls) fell caught brilliantly at mid-wicket by Gunawardene in fact a stunner of a catch. Vincent tried to pull a short one from Arnold but found himself walking back as Gunawardene plucked the ball out of thin air. At the end of the 44th over the Black Caps were struggling at 185 for five.Parore walked in and unlike his previous stint against the Indians where he choked the flow of runs he wielded his bat to strike a few hefty blows. New Zealand it looked like was get its bearings right at least towards the last few overs. But New Zealand lost Harris at this juncture when he placed the ball straight into Gunawardenes hand trying to cut a short ball. Soon Vettori followed trying to slog Jayasuria over mid-wicket to leave New Zealand at 217 for seven at the end of the 48th over. In the 49th over Kyle Mills departed without tickling the scores to reduce New Zealand to 217 for eight Dharmasena the benefactor on that occasion.New Zealands hopes now rested on Parore who did not disappoint. In stark contrast to his previous innings he clubbed the Sri Lankans spinner to fetch New Zealand 20 runs off the last two overs to land the Black Caps with 236 for eight at the end of 50 overs the highest total of the tournament.

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