Dambulla: India have managed to put up a total of 268 for the loss of 6 wickets in 50 overs after Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup finals in Dambulla.
The Sri Lankan bowlers were outstanding in the depth overs, lead by Malinga. The bowlers were precise with their line and length and restricted the Indian total to 268 for 6.
Earlier, Dinesh Karthik had given India a good start with a well made half century. Karthik who was called in for injured Virender Sehwag came out with a good show for the Indians. Karthik was timing the ball well and driving the Sri Lankan pacers confidently. He hit three boundaries in one over off the bowling of Maharoof, the over after Gambhir was out.
India had lost Gautam Gambhir early, he was run-out while trying to take a third run in the beginning of the seventh over. Upal Tharanga was the fielder for Sri Lanka who threw the ball at the right end from the out-field to secure the first wicket for the hosts.
Karthik along with Virat Kholi did put up a good partnership to give a good platform for the Indian batting. The duo put up a partnership of 62 before Kholi was dismissed by Lasith Malinga. Kholi was out while trying to push a ball on the offside, only managing to edge it behind in the hands of the wicket-keeper.
Captain Dhoni stepped onto the crease to put up a partnership off 46 with Karthik before the latter was dismissed. Dhoni was cautious to begin with and picked up a lot of singles to build a platform for the Indians. But Karthik at the other end was finally dismissed after making 66 runs. He was caught out in the deep by Mahela Jayawardene while trying to go for a big one off the bowling of Thilan Kandamby.
The Sri Lankan bowlers were keeping it tight, especially Kandamby who picked up another scalp of Dhoni. Dhoni was out caught by Kulasekara after making 38 runs off 50 deliveries.
In-form batsmen Rohit Sharma however, looked in good touch and was caressing the ball nicely picking up occasional boundaries without much risks. He helped India reach the 200 run mark with a boundary in the 39th over with Suresh Raina at the other end who was looking good at the other end. Raina was muscling some powerful boundaries, scoring at more than 100 per cent strike rate.
But just as the partnership was looking good and promising for India, Malinga got the breakthrough for the Lankans with a well directed yorker in the 42nd over. Raina was trapped leg before wicket(lbw) to Malinga. Malinga was testing the Indian batsman with bouncing deliveries and caught Raina with a surprise, with a quick full delivery to dismiss him.
India at that stage were placed at 217 for the loss of five wickets with Jadeja the new man and looked like they would again collapse like the last match.
Malinga and veteran spinner Muralitharan was making it very hard for the Jadeja and Sharma to score runs with their accuracy. Muralitharan conceded just 34 runs off his full quota of 10 overs.
Kulasekara too followed up well with a superb 46th over. He was superb with his well-directed full deliveries allowing no room for the batsman to free their arms. In his next over he was rewarded for his persistence with the prized wicket of Rohit Sharma who was looking good at 41.
Harbhajan Singh and Jadeja managed to take the Indian total to 268 in the end.
India will be aiming to win and end their 15-year-old jinx without the Asia Cup trophy.
India vs Sri Lanka, Final - Scorecard
After their crushing seven-wicket defeat against the hosts on Tuesday, India will seek to avenge the defeat at the Rangiri International Stadium.
The Indian batting were exposed by the Sri Lankan bowlers, both spinners and pacers especially Maharoof who picked up a hat-trick. Dhoni after the defeat said they were outclassed by the Sri Lankans.
Asia Cup 2010: Fixtures | Points Table | Top10 (R/W)
On the other side the Sri Lankan side will be bolstered with the return of fast bowler Lasith Malinga and their veteran spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who were rested in the previous match. They will be looking to make it a hat-trick of Asia Cup wins.
Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Muttiah Muralitharan, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Kapugedera, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga, KMDN Kulasekara
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma