Feroz Khan/Zeenews Sports
Perth: R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja played sensibly to stitch a crucial partnership that drove India home in the second ODI at Perth on Wednesday. India chased down a target of 234 runs against Sri Lanka to register their first win of the CB series.
From a position of strength, where India were looking certain of a win, their batsmen, almost as if they had a change of heart, started throwing away their wickets that allowed Sri Lanka to crawl back into the game.
Change of Heart
It started with Rohit Sharma followed by Suresh Raina and their captain MS Dhoni joined the party playing an irresponsible shot to gift his wicket leaving India in a spot of bother.
Rohit Sharma, who was agonizingly kept out of the final playing XI throughout the Test series against Australia yet again failed to make a mark getting out after scoring just 10. His dismissal was a result of a cut that was snaffled brilliantly at point by former captain Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni were to be blamed themselves for their dismissals as they were tempted by the Lankan bowlers to play short deliveries. Raina’s dismissal was a typical example of how the lefty’s weakness with the short ball has been exploited. A reckless short towards midwicket was pouched easily by sub. Senanayake off Angelo Mathews to end his innings at 24.
Indian captain MS Dhoni failed to middle a short ball, launching it above long on. Lasith Malinga took a good running catch to hand Dhamika Prasad his first wicket of the match.
Ashwin, Jadeja show the way
Three quick wickets gave Sri Lanka hopes of clinching the match back from India’s grip. With Ravindra Jadeja and R Aswhin on crease, they were fancying their chances.
However, the two played sensibly and kept away the lure of playing fancy shots while concentrating on rotating the strike. They kept Sri Lankans on their toes, keeping the scoreboard ticking with regular singles and doubles.
When Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene decided to clear the outfield of fielders to stem the flow of singles, the two did not hesitated from looking for the odd boundary.
By the time Ashwin mishit Mathews over mid off, India had already leveled the scores and with the ball falling safely between the confused fielders, India completed their chase after a brief hiccup.
In the end, the duo of Jadeja (23*) and Ashwin (30*) collected 53 runs for the seventh wicket which was the second highest partnership of the Indian innings next only to Virat Kohli (77) and Sachin Tendulkar’s (48) stand of 75 runs.
Kohli and Tendulkar steer the innings
After Virender Sehwag (10) was caught at third man off Malinga, Kohli joined Tendulkar guiding Indian score past 50 runs.
Tendulkar looked in his elements, hitting freely but just when anticipation around his elusive landmark started building, the maestro played a Mathews delivery on to his stumps to depart on the brink of a half century.
Kohli, on the other hand, looked certain to steer India to a comfortable victory even as he kept running out of partners. His innings of 75 runs was laced with eight boundaries hitting a six straight down the ground even as he struggled with cramps. The next delivery, he ran himself out attempting a quick single, walking out of the field in pain.
Failure to build on start
Sri Lanka must have felt they were 20-30 runs short of a competitive total.
Much of this has to do with a disciplined Indian bowling and sharp fielding that forced them to play rash shots.
Dinesh Chandimal (64) top scored for Sri Lanka hitting four boundaries in his innings. He got out after trying to increase the run rate, charging down the track to be stumped by Dhoni off R Aswhin.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (48) provided a quick start to the innings but got out with a similar intention at a time when their innings was progressing without a boundary in 11 overs.
Zaheer Khan began the proceedings for India, keeping a probing line and getting the wicket of Upul Tharanga in the third over of the innings.
Khan later ended Kumara Sangakkara’s innings as MS Dhoni took a brilliant diving catch behind the stumps. R Ashwin kept on the pressure grabbing three wickets while giving away 32 runs in his quota of 10 overs.