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Thatscricket - News - SL recovers, sets India 222 for win

Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Bangalore: Sri Lanka recovered well, after two mini collapses had them looking at trouble, to post a competitive 221 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.Having elected to take first strike, Sri Lanka got off to a good, if not solid, start with its openers putting on 47 in 11 overs. Sri Lankan could have done better, if not for Gunawardene who got off to a very slow start and struggled to get the ball off the square. However, Jayasuriya made up for the lack of his partners fluency by picking up his customary boundaries through point. He also hoisted Mohanty for a six over mid-wicket.When it looked like Sri Lanka had built itself a good launching pad, in walked Harbhajan Singh and changed all of that in a matter of a couple of overs. Coming in the 12th over the Turbunator had Jayasuriya (34 of 41 balls) stumped off a wide ball. On this occasion it was Dighe who effected a brilliant stumping- collecting the ball way down the leg side. This gave India its first strike at 48.In his very next over, Singh had another prize scalp - that of Marvan Atapattu, when he had him caught at forward short-leg. This reduced Sri Lanka to 60 for 2. The very next over, Mahela Jayawardene played a loose shot to trigger a mini collapse. Chasing a wide delivery of Sodhi, Jayawardene only succeeded in giving Dighe an edge, which he accepted without much fuss. Sri Lanka, at this stage, was struggling at 61 for three in the 15th over and definitely had its back to the wall. However, the lack of a second spinner (genuine) helped Sri Lankas cause. After warding off Harbhajan, the Sri Lankan pair of Gunawardene and Kaluwitharana put up a crucial 82 runs for the fourth wicket.This was when Sri Lanka had its second collapse and a major one at that, loosing four wickets in a hurry Gunawardene, Russel Arnol and Kaluwitharan. First, Gunawardene (63 of 107 balls) played a nothing shot when he stepped out of the line to cut a Sehwag delivery that was heading straight towards the middle stump. Then there was a mix up, triggered due to an outstanding piece of fielding from skipper Ganguly, which sent Arnold back to the pavilion. Very soon Kaluwitharan (36 of 52 balls) followed caught behind off Yuvraj Singh. At this stage Sri Lanka was 150 for three and at 155 in the 38th over Harbhajan trapped Vaas lbw to have Sri Lanka deep in the mire - losing its last four wickets for 12 runs. Then came, probably, the most crucial partnership of the game a 49-run stand from Kumara Dharmasena and Suresh Perera. Both of them mixed aggression with caution to a nicety with Perera being the aggressor, who played some classic strokes. And when Dharmasena departed in the 48th over, going for the big shot at the death, the pair had got Sri Lanka back into the game.Perera also departed going for the kill. Suresh Perera notched up 28 of 31 and Dharmasena got a valuable 26 of 43 ballsThe last pair of Muthiah Muralidharan and Fernando added 10 more vital runs to take the total to 221 for nine.

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