Sri Lanka exacted sweet revenge on India with a crushing nine-wicket victory in the second ODI here on Tuesday, to draw the series level at 1-1.
It was an absolutely contrasting performance by the Indian batsmen from their last match, as they were bundled out for a paltry 138 in only 33.3 overs.
The Sri Lankan openers Upul Tharanga (59 not out) and Tillekaratne Dilshan (50) added 119 runs as the islanders hardly broke a sweat while racing to the target in only 19.5 overs.
The win also means that India won’t get a shot at No. 1 spot in the ICC ODI rankings, for which it needed a 5-0 margin in the current series.
Save opener Gautam Gambhir, who scored a fighting 65 (96 balls, 4x4), the other batsmen paid a heavy price for their indiscretion on a pitch that demanded judicious shot selection. Man-of-the-Match Thisara Perera (three for 14) and Angelo Mathews (three for 19) ran through the Indian top-order. Although there was a greenish tinge, the pitch, which was primarily on the lower side, also produced the odd deliveries that reared up from the three quarter.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and expectedly decided to bat despite windy conditions that aided swing bowlers.
The visitors got off to a brisk start courtesy Virender Sehwag (15) as he blasted debutant Isuru Udana for a couple of boundaries as they raced to 31 in just three overs.
After Udana went for 16 in his first over, Mahela Jayawardene had no option but to turn to Perera whose slower delivery did the trick after Sehwag committed to the shot early for the bowler to take a sharp reflex catch. Virat Kohli chased a delivery from Perera that was wide outside off-stump and the faint nick gave Kumar Sangakkara the first of his four catches.
Flattering to deceive
Rohit Sharma once again flattered to deceive as he played on while going for an ambitious cut off a very wide delivery from Mathews.
Suresh Raina dragged one from Perera back on to his off-stump. Dhoni hit a couple of fours but then went for a non-existent cut shot off a Mathews delivery. The ball reared up from short of good length and Sangakkara took the edge.
With all the top-order batsmen back in the pavilion before completion of the first 15 overs, Gambhir had the onerous task of saving his wicket as well as scoring some runs.
Irfan Pathan too didn’t stay long while Ravichandran Ashwin, who threw his bat around a bit, was needlessly run-out.
Gambhir, meanwhile, got to his 32nd half-century. He ultimately ran out of patience as he tried to steer a Lasith Malinga delivery, only for Sangakkara to effect a one-handed catch.
Defending a small target was always going to be difficult irrespective of the conditions and India needed early breakthroughs. However, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav presented the openers a lot of width as they raced to 64 for no loss before break.
Keywords: India's tour of Sri Lanka