Dambulla: Thisara Perera took five wickets as India crashed to their biggest ever ODI defeat in terms of balls remaining in a tri-series game against Sri Lanka played here at the Rangiri Dambulla International stadium on Sunday. Sri Lanka’s eight wicket demolition meant that they became the first team to move through to the final of the tri-series.
India now play New Zealand in a must win game on Wednesday. While the Kiwis will progress even if the game is washed out, India need an outright victory to sail through.
Perera, who took his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs (5/28), ripped through the Indian innings with some classy display of swing bowling as India fizzled out for a paltry 103 in just 33.4 overs. The total was India’s third lowest of all times against the Lankans.
Sri Lankan openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene went about their job in clinical fashion and chased down the target of 104 in just 15.1 overs for a bonus point win.
Both Dilshan (35) and Jayawardene (33) played aggressively and scored boundaries at will to make a mockery of the Indian attack.
Although Ishant Sharma removed both the openers off consecutive deliveries, it was too late by then with the Lankans within sniffing distance of the victory target. A little while later, the home side eclipsed the winning total with 209 balls to spare.
Before this game, India’s heaviest defeat in terms of balls remaining was against the Aussies at Sydney in 1981 when they lost with 174 deliveries remaining.
Other top performers for Sri Lanka included Lasith Malinga (2/21) and Nuwan Kulasekara (2/31).
The only saving grace for India was Yuvraj Singh’s resolute 38 with only three other batsmen managing to reach double figures.
India were also at the receiving end of a couple of dubious umpiring decisions, which also accounted for the wicket of Yuvraj.
Looking unperturbed despite the no-ball furore, the Sri Lankan team outplayed the Indians in all departments right from the moment Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first.
Earlier, the Indian innings got off to a poor start as wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals with the Sri Lankan bowlers keeping a tight line and length.
India lost their first wicket in the form of Sehwag. Sehwag, who scored 12 off as many deliveries, was trapped in front of the wickets by Nuwan Kulasekara.
Just a few deliveries after Sehwag took the long walk back to the pavilion, fellow opener Dinesh Karthik followed him as he too was removed by Kulasekara. Karhik departed caught behind by Sangakkara for 9.
Moments after they crossed the 50-run barrier, India lost another important wicket in the form of Rohit Sharma, who was trapped plumb in front of the wickets by Angelo Mathews for 11.
India found themselves in a deep hole after Suresh Raina became the fourth wicket to fall with the scorecard reading just 61. Raina was caught by Sangakkara off Perera for just 8.
Dhoni became the fifth Indian batsman to take the long walk back to the pavilion after he dabbed at a delivery outside the off stump and was caught by wicketkeeper Sangakara. Dhoni made just 10.
India lost two wickets in as many deliveries as they slumped to a dismal 77/7 in the 26th over of their innings. Ravindra Jadeja for the first to depart after he was caught by Chamara Silva at gully for a duck. Praveen Kumar was the next to be dismissed after he slashed at a delivery and was caught by Tharanga.
Ashish Nehra became the eighth wicket to fall after being caught behind the wickets by Sangakkara off Malinga for 2.
Yuvraj Singh became the ninth wicket to fall with India still one run short of the three figure mark. Yuvraj, who was waging a lone battle, was trapped LBW by Malinga for 38.
Ishant Sharma was the last batsman to depart after he was clean bowled by Perera for 3.