Dhoni, Raina help Ind pose a decent 237/9

Published: Sunday, August 24, 2008, 20:14 [IST]
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Bangalore: Dhoni stroked a 80-ball 76  and Raina made a stubborn 53 as India survived early hiccups to post a fighting 237?9 in the third one-dayer against Lanka at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.
Dhoni and Raina steadied Indian innings with a 54-run stand for the fifth wicket after India slumped to 91/4 despite a steady start provided by Kohli (25) and Gambhir (8). Dhoni, who played a sensible innings curbing his aggressive instincts, amassed his runs nudging and milking the ball in gaps for singles and twos intersperesed with odd boundary hit. He added an invaluable 67 runs for the sixth wicket stand with Rohit (32 off 39) as India reached 200-mark in the 43rd over.
Mendis was the pick of Lankan attack with 3/56. Rookie seamers Kulasekara and Thushara claimed two wickets apiece
Earlier India opting to bat first on a hard and flat batting wicket got off to a bright start with Kohli and Gambhir raising 39 runs in eighth over. Kohli was more attacking than his partner Gambhir and played some eye-catching shots on either side of the wicket.
The right-handed Delhi batsman looked set for a big one before an unfortunate run-out cut short his stay at the wicket.
On the other hand Gambhir looked bit rusty and struggled against the probing new ball attack before a legth ball on middle and off-stump line off Kulasekara rapped him on front foot just below knee flap. And Lankan umpire Wijewerdene raised his finger in a flash.  
Yuvraj's (12) poor run in the series continued when he tentatively pushed a short of length ball angling across only to get a thick edge that flew to slip cordon and Jayawardene did the rest.  Badri (6) was next one to go trying to up the scoring rate was holed to
Vaas at mid-off off Mendis as India slumped to 91/4 in 23 overs.
At this juncture Dhoni joined Raina in the middle and the pair played a composed innings under pressure. The duo took time settle before opening up. The good thing about their innings was they played on the merits of ball nad never tried a luxiourous shot.

Raina's 80-ball innings, which was inclusive of four boundaries, was ended when attempting a second run which wasn't there to take, failed to beat the throw from Dilshan.
Dhoni, who got an extremely capable ally in the shape of Rohit, continued in the same vein. The pair shared 67-run stand and ensured India a respectable total.

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