Monday 18 August 2008 

Muralitharan, Mendis And Jayawardene Star In Big Win

Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis shared six wickets and captain Mahela Jayawardene scored a fluent unbeaten half-century as Sri Lanka cruised to an eight-wicket win over India in the opening Idea Cup One Day International in Dambulla.

Chasing 147 for victory, Jayawardene, unbeaten on 61, and Chamara Kapugedera (45 not out) put an unbroken century stand after openers Sanath Jayasuriya (ten) and Kumar Sangakkara (19) fell early to Munaf Patel.

Patel bowled tidily early on, building up the pressure on Jayasuriya until he skied a pull shot and was caught by Irfan Pathan. Sangakkara played some good strokes but perished when he pushed the ball back to Patel who held a simple caught and bowled chance to leave Sri Lanka on 45 for two, Patel taking two for 30.

More wickets were required, but Jayawardene and Kapugedera didn't offer them a chance as they compiled a ground record third-wicket stand. Neither batsmen panicked, playing with increasing authority - Jayawardene in particular strong through the offside both in front of and behind square as Sri Lanka eased home with more than 15 overs to spare.

Earlier, after new ball bowlers Chaminda Vaas (1-34) and Nuwan Kulasekera (2-23) had removed India's top three, Mendis picked up the prize wickets of Yuvraj Singh (23) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (six) while Muralitharan removed Irfan Pathan (seven), Harbhajan Singh (12) and Zaheer Khan (12).

Mendis ended the innings with the wicket of Munaf Patel for 15 with Thilan Thushara the other man to strike, having Rohit Sharma caught by captain Mahela Jayawardene for 19.

Mendis finished with three for 21 from nine overs, Muralitharan three for 37 from ten as India were bowled out in 46 overs. With India seven down for 87, Sri Lanka reeled off four maidens in a row.

India handed a debut to Under-19 captain Virat Kohli, and in the absence of both Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, the youngster opened the batting but after two balls he had lost his more experienced partner Gautam Gambhir, bowled for two by Vaas.

Kohli made 12 runs before being trapped in front by Kulasekera, who had Suresh Raina caught by Chamara Silva for 17 to leave India on 36 for three inside 12 overs.

Yuvraj and Sharma mounted something of a recovery by adding 37 for the fourth wicket in 6.5 overs before the introduction of spin kept Sri Lanka on top.

Yuvraj was bowled by Mendis and Sharma was caught by Jayawardene off of Thushara within five balls of each other.

Dhoni struggled to six from 28 balls before offering another catch to Jayawardene, and Pathan followed one over later, lbw to Muralitharan.

Zaheer and Harbhajan got India past 100 before Harbhajan was caught by wicket-keeper Sangakkara and Zaheer by Thushara, leaving tail-enders Pragyan Ojha (16 not out) to fend for themselves, which they did competently, adding 29 for the last wicket before Mendis had Patel bowled.

Sri Lanka beat India 2-1 in the Test series that precedes this five-match ODI series.

© Cricket World 2008