India restricts Sri Lanka despite Jayawardene~~s 77

Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2002, 0:29 [IST]
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Colombo: Mahela Jayawardene returned to form with a solid 77 as Sri Lanka struggled to 222 for 7 in the replayed day-night final against India in the Champions Trophy cricket tournament on Monday. Jayawardene, without a half-century in the tournament before this match, regained touch just when his team had been looking for runs on a slow turning pitch after winning the toss. The 25-year-old put on 118 for the fifth wicket with Russel Arnold (56 not out), whose verbal duel with Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly led to the umpires' intervention. India still managed to restrict the hosts to a modest total despite a big partnership between Jayawardene and Arnold as it had seized the initiative in the opening overs. Left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan (3 for 44) and off spinner Harbhajan Singh impressed with tidy spells. Jayawardene faced 99 balls and struck six fours in his 15th half-century in One-day Internationals, while Arnold hit three during his 17th 50 as Sri Lanka made 70 in the closing 10 overs. Sri Lanka's troubles began with the first-ball dismissal of hard-hitting skipper Sanath Jayasuriya, who inside-edged a Zaheer delivery on to his stumps. Zaheer nearly got rid of Kumar Sangakkara in the same over, but Dinesh Mongia reacted late to a low chance at second slip. India continued to keep pressure on Sri Lanka with its tight seam bowling, with Zaheer keeping a good line and length in his opening five-over spell to deny the batsmen freedom to play strokes. Marvan Atapattu (10) also did not last long, brilliantly caught by a diving Mongia at first slip off seamer Ajit Agarkar. The hosts were reeling at 24 for 2 when veteran Aravinda de Silva launched a brief counter-attack, plundering five boundaries on both sides of the wicket in an Agarkar over. Aravinda's flourish, however, did not last long as he fell playing shots, swinging leg spinner Anil Kumble straight to Mohammad Kaif at square-leg in his last match at home. He hit six fours in his 24-ball 27. Sangakkara, promoted to open the innings in place of Atapattu, was run out in a mix- up with Jayawardene when he looked set to steer his team out of trouble. The left-hander left his team wobbling at 71 for 4 in the 17th over before Jayawardene and Arnold steadied the innings with their half-centuries.

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