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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Micromax Cup Cricket: Sri Lanka Thrash India In Second ODI!


Indian cricket tour of Sri Lanka-2012. The same venue of Hambantota like in the first one day international that India won by 21 runs following a powerful batting display. Only the strip was different and Indian skipper Dhoni happened to see some more grass there, and that a strong wind was blowing. But Lankan skipper Mahela said it was dead grass, but, of course, wind was unusual in that venue. Again, a same day and night affair like in the first.

The same result in the toss—India winning. The same decision—to bat first. And, the same team, no changes. But for a change the Indian innings began well today. They had a brisk start scoring 31 runs under 4 overs with Gambhir and Sehwag going strong. Then, it was entirely a different tale to tell.  

Virender Sehwag started the slide giving a fierce Perera his first wicket. It was a downhill journey then onwards. Classy Virat Kohli fell to Perera for just 1 in the sixth over. Rohit Sharma who failed in the first ODI too was the third to go in the 7th over bowled by Matthews for a duck. Raina joined in the hara-kiri by getting out to Perera in the 8th over. India were reduced to 41/4 with Perera capturing three wickets for just 15 runs in six overs.

Skipper Dhoni was expected to try steadying the innings as Gautam Gambhir was holding fort in the other end. But that was not to be. Dhoni was removed by Matthews pretty soon. With some rearguard action by R Ashwin (21 run out) Gambhir managed to take the score to 138 when he was the last man out for 65—the highest score of the innings. India were bowled out for 138 in 33.3 overs. It was one of the numerous unpredictable batting collapses for a team supposedly having the strongest batting lineup of the world. For Sri Lanka Perera and Matthews took three wickets each while Malinga chipped in late with two wickets including that of Gambhir. Ominously for India, the last wicket fell in the first over of the batting powerplay—an area of constant concern.

A target of 139 runs in full quota of fifty overs for a strong team like Sri Lanka at home was farthest from a respectable one. It was not a good target even for a T20 game! The Sri Lankan innings started after the usual 10 minute break as it was early days for dinner. They started confidently and headed for a professional finish. The Indian bowlers had a task cut out for them.

The agony for India was mercifully over as early as in the 20th over. The Indian bowlers seemed to have just completed the formality of delivering the balls, giving away as many as 24 extras. Openers Tharanga (59 not out) and Dilshan (50) almost did the job and Sri Lanka won by 9 wickets. TC Perera was adjudged the man of the match. It was a magnificent victory for Sri Lanka who outplayed India in all departments of the game. India suffered a humiliation today and questions are likely to be raised again on Dhoni’s persistence with Rohit Sharma with Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary sitting in the reserves. India cannot hope to regain the No.1 position in ICC rankings in this series either, because for that they needed to win 5-0. The Scorecard:

The scores are level at 1-1 in the five match ODI series and the competition is set to get keener. The third one day international is coming up on July 28 in Colombo

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