India 234-6 (Kohli 77) beat
Sri Lanka 233-8 (Ashwin 3-32) by 4 wickets
Second CB Series Match, Perth
India produced a nervy display to edge past Sri Lanka in the second match of the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia. After being set a target of just 234 runs to win, it was left to a seventh wicket stand of 53 between R Ashwin (30 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (24 not out) to seal the win.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had won the toss and elected to bat at the WACA, but they soon lost Upul Tharanga, caught at first slip off Zaheer Khan, before a stand of 62 between Tillakaratne Dilshan (48) and Kumar Sangakkara (26) steadied the ship.
However, Zaheer then accounted for Sangakkara, and Jadeja for Dilshan, to make it 100 for three just before the half way point in their innings. It was then over to Ashwin, who had endured a torrid tour of Australia up until this point, as he dispensed with Dinesh Chandimal (64), Mahela Jayawardene (23) and Thisara Perera (7) during his spell of three for 32.
It was noticeable, when compared with earlier performances on this tour, how much slower Ashwin bowled than in the past, and how sparingly he used the carrom ball; all of which resulted in him being able to extract an above average amount of spin from a normally spin-unfriendly Perth pitch.
When India’s turn came to bat, they lost Virender Sehwag early on, upper-cutting to third man, but Sachin Tendulkar played a couple of delightful strokes on his way to fluent 48 to keep the Indians on course. Virat Kohli passed fifty with ease, but the rest of the middle-order fell away, and when he started to suffer from cramp and ran himself out on 77 with the score on 181, the world champions would have began to worry about the outcome.
Fortunately for them, the ever-improving Jadeja and eventual man-of-the-match Ashwin saw them home with an unbeaten stand of 53 from 64 balls as they negated the traditional Sri Lanka late-innings threat of Lasith Malinga with relative ease.
© Cricket World 2012