Match report: SL v Ind – 5th ODI
Adelaide, Feb 14: The Sri Lanka versus India CB series encounter has ended in a tie, the first such result between these two teams in ODI cricket. Set to chase 237 with four runs required off the last ball, India captain MS Dhoni (58*) hit a Lasith Malinga delivery over extra cover which allowed the Indians to run three and tie the game.
Earlier, the Lankans reached 236 on the back of a 91-ball 81 from rising star Dinesh Chandimal. Things didn’t start as planned for Lanka as Upul Tharanga fell for a duck to R Vinay Kumar in the very first over of the innings and Tillakaratne Dilshan (16) was caught by MS Dhoni off Irfan Pathan, playing his first game of the competition. But Chandimal struck a useful 51-run stand with Kumar Sangakkara for the third wicket, and a vital 94-run stand with Mahela Jayawardene for the fourth wicket, to put the innings back on track.
While Sangakkara (31) was dismissed by R Ashwin and Jayawardene (43) was trapped lbw by Vinay Kumar, Chandimal brought up his second half-century of the competition. Unfortunately, though, the Lankans lost three wickets in the batting Powerplay (Overs 36 – 40) to lose momentum as Jayawardene, Chandimal (run-out) and Thisara Perera (5) all made their way back to the dressing room.
Sachithra Senanayake, batting at No. 9, then hit an unbeaten 14-ball 22 to take the Lankans to a competitive score of 236. For India, Vinay Kumar impressed with figures of 10-1-46-3 while R Ashwin gave away 30 runs from his 10 overs for two wickets.
Sachin Tendulkar (15) began the Indian reply with a couple of crisp boundaries, but was out caught by Sangakkara while trying to drive Nuwan Kulasekara on the offside off the last ball of the sixth over. The Lankans chipped away as Virat Kohli (15), Rohit Sharma (15) and Suresh Raina (8) all fell without making significant contributions.
Gautam Gambhir, however, kept the scoreboard ticking at the other end as he brought up his second successive ODI half-century. Gambhir was involved in a 60-run stand with MS Dhoni for the fifth wicket that promised to take India home, but the opener was run-out in the 41st over owing to a direct hit from Kulasekara with the Indian score at 178; the run-out was the result of a bad call from Dhoni. Six runs later, Ravindra Jadeja (3) made his way back to the pavilion when he was caught by Jayawardene fielding at cover.
With 44 runs required off the last six overs, Dhoni and Ashwin knocked 13 runs off Perera in the 46th over to keep India in the game. But with Ashwin (14) falling to Malinga in the 48th over and India needing 24 off the last 12 deliveries, the game remained very much in the balance.
Irfan Pathan (8) then struck Angelo Mathews for a huge six before he was run-out to bring the equation down to nine off the last over. However, with Lasith Malinga not gifting Dhoni or the tailenders any boundary balls, the Indian captain salvaged a tied result by scoring a crucial three runs off the last delivery. Dhoni finished unbeaten on 58, having faced 69 deliveries.
While Lanka will see the tied match as a massive lost opportunity to open their CB series account, Indian fans would be disappointed as their team was looking good to clinch the game with Gambhir and Dhoni in the middle. It is worth noting that the 30th over of the game, bowled by Malinga, was scored as a five-ball over. Lanka fans, in turn, would rue the fact that Perera dropped Dhoni in the 31st over when the India captain was just 10 runs into his innings.
India now take on Australia on February 19 at the Gabba in Brisbane in the seventh match of the competition.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 236/9 in 50.0 overs (Dinesh Chandimal 81, Mahela Jayawardene 43, R Vinay Kumar 3/46, R Ashwin 2/30) tied with India 236/8 in 50.0 overs (Gautam Gambhir 91, MS Dhoni 58*, Thisara Perera 2/45, Lasith Malinga 2/53)
Man-of-the-match: MS Dhoni for his feisty 58* off 69 balls (3x4, 1x6) that allowed India to tie the game