PORT OF SPAIN: Rohit Sharma reached his half-ton ad guided India past 100 in their chase of 202, set by Sri Lanka, in the tri-series final at Port of Spain on Thursday.
Rangana Herath gave Sri Lanka crucial breakthrough by removing Dinesh Karthik after a steady 3rd wicket stand with Rohit Sharma in the tri-series final at Port of Spain.
Herath got Karthik caught by Mahela Jayawardene at slip to reduce India to 77/3 in 23 overs. Karthik scored 23 and shared 50-run stand with Sharma.
Defending 202-run target, Sri Lankan pacer Shaminda Eranga dismissed opener Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli in quick succession to put India in trouble.
Eranga got both Dhawan (16) and Kohli (2) caught behind to reduce India to 27/2 in 10.4 overs.
Earlier, India benefited immensely after Sri Lanka’s middle and lower-order batsmen committed hara-kiri, which saw the team lose eight wickets for just 30 runs before being bundled out for 201.
Sent into bat, Sri Lanka were sitting pretty at 171 for two in the 38th over, but lack of application on part of their batsmen saw them being packed off with seven balls left in their innings.
Ravindra Jadeja was the most successful Indian bowlers returning figures of 4/24 while there were two wickets apiece for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Earlier, the in-from Bhuvneshwar made use of seaming conditions to send back Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene. Incidentally, the duo had punished India with a double-century partnership in the match that Bhuvneshwar was dropped.
Sri Lanka then rode on Kumar Sangakkara (71) and Lahiru Thirimanne’s 122-run partnership for the third wicket to stage a fightback before their innings disintegrated largely due to some mindless batting. Thirimanne scored 46 off 72 balls while Sangakkara got his runs in 100 deliveries.
From a comfortable position with about 12 overs to go, Sri Lanka were left licking their wounds at 193 for seven in the 46th over when skipper Angelo Mathews got out. None of the last six batsmen could reach double figures.
Sri Lanka made a cautious start on a pitch that was not conducive for stroke-play. But after reaching 27 in the seventh over, the islanders suffered their first blow when Bhuvneshwar changed his angle to induce an inside edge from Upul Tharanga. Dhoni did the rest behind the stumps.
The ever-consistent Bhuvneshwar was at it again, in the 14th over, as he removed Jayawardene with an innocuous delivery that moved a bit on landing at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Losing the experienced Jayawardene so early into the innings was a big blow for the Lankans and they desperately needed solidity at that point of time. Sri Lanka found the answer to their worries in the form of another veteran, Sangakkara, who anchored the innings.
Sangakkara mixed caution with common sense as he realised early that playing expansive shots was not the way to go about the task on this wicket. Playing equally responsibly at the other end was Thirimanne who complemented his senior partner to prop up Sri Lanka’s innings.
Joining hands at 49 for two in the 14th over, the two brought up their 100 partnership in the 36th over with Thirimanne cutting Ishant for a boundary.
It was the start of batting powerplay and Lanka were straightaway on the money with both Sangakkara and Thirimanne going after Ishant who conceded 24 runs in the two overs he bowled at that stage of the game.
After being carted for two fours through the offside by Thirimanne, Ishant was at the receiving end of Sangakkara’s treatment. Not content hitting two successive fours in the 38th over’s first two balls, Sangakkara launched into Ishant smashing his length ball straight down the ground for a six.
But the over turned to be an eventful one as Ishant finally tasted success having Thirimanne caught by Bhuvneshwar at mid-off.
Soon Sri Lanka suffered another jolt as offspinner Ashwin joined the party by removing Sangakkara with a tossed-up ball.
The batsman was looking ominous and gearing up for the final assault that would take his team to a big total. But that was not to be as Sangakkara’s mistimed drive was taken by Vinay Kumar, who ran a few steps backwards from mid-on, to complete an important catch.
Ashwin struck again as he had Kusal Perera — he was preferred ahead of Jeevan Mendis for the tournament’s most important game — with one that turned and bounced sharply for Dhoni to effect a swift stumping.
After fighting their way back into the match, Sri Lanka were crumbling with Jadeja having Dinesh Chandimal caught by Ashwin at deep backward square leg. Mathews followed suit as Sri Lanka’s innings approached its end.