Vaas Takes 400th ODI Wicket But India Are Too Strong

India 258 all out (Dhoni 76, Raina 71, Kohli 54, Thushara 5-47) beat
Sri Lanka 212 all out (Jayasuriya 60, Thushara 40, Harbhajan Singh 3-40) by 46 runs
Fourth Idea Cup One Day International, Colombo - India lead the series 3-1 with one to play

Sri Lankan bowler Chaminda Vaas celebrated his 400th wicket in One Day International cricket during the fourth match against India at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo but it wasn't enough to stop India winning both the match and their first ever bilateral One Day International series in Sri Lanka

Vaas was upstaged by the younger left-arm seamer Thilan Thushara who took a maiden five-wicket haul as India were bowled out for 258 and then hit 40 at the death in Sri Lanka's 212 all out in 46.3 overs.

Half-centuries from Virat Kohli (54), Suresh Raina (76) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (71) ensured India managed to post a competitive total after Vaas had Yuvraj Singh caught by Mahela Jayawardene at midwicket in the 13th over of the match.

Chaminda Vaas celebrates his 400th wicket with team-mates

Vaas is mobbed by team-mates on taking his 400th wicket. ©REUTERS/Buddhika Weerasinghe (SRI LANKA). Supplied by Action Images

The match was postponed yesterday due to persistent rain and India won the toss on the reserve and chose to bat first.

Kohli, who has formed a useful opening partnership with Gautam Gambhir in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, led India's charge in the early overs before Gambhir was caught at backward point by Tillakaratne Dilshan off of Nuwan Kulasekera.

Even after Yuvraj's dismissal, sparking scenes of joyous celebrations from the Sri Lankans, Kohli continued to take the attack to the home side, reaching his maiden ODI half-century in 62 balls although he undid his hard work when he played on to Thilan Thushara shortly after getting to fifty.

He hit seven fours in all and the momentum that his innings had given India was continued by a 143-run stand for the second wicket between Raina and Dhoni - the same pair that frustrated Sri Lanka in the third match and here they were on equally good form.

Dhoni was brutal on anything short, unleashing his trademark cut in front of point on a number of occasions while Raina played a more classical innings, particularly strong through the covers and straight down the ground.

The shot of the innings came when Raina launched Muttiah Muralitharan into the stands at midwicket on one knee.

Both batsmen were suffering with the heat in Colombo, however, and once Thushara returned to prise out both men, India's innings fell away alarmingly.

Raina was caught by Kulasekera in the deep and Dhoni by Jayasuriya at extra cover before a combination of Thushara, Muralitharan (1-56) and Mendis (1-43) wrapped up the tail in quick time.

Rohit Sharma (18) offered a catch in the deep to Malinda Warnapura off of Mendis, Subramaniam Badrinath misjudged an onside shot and was caught by Jayawardene off of Muralitharan, Harbhajan Singh was run out for two and Thushara applied the finishing touches with the wickets of Praveen Kumar (two) and Zaheer Khan (nought).

How the innings progressed

That represented a fine comeback from the Sri Lankans as in the last ten overs of the match, India hit 42 runs for the loss of seven wickets to be bowled out with three balls to spare.

And when Jayasuriya smashed India's opening bowlers for 60 from 52 balls, thoughts began to turn to a possible decider at the same venue in two days time.

Jayasuriya hit eight fours and two sixes, one of which brought up Sri Lanka's half-century but the problem for Sri Lanka was the wickets falling at the other end.

Warnapura's innings of nought from 18 balls was ended when he was trapped in front by Munaf Patel and Kumar Sangakkara followed him back when he was bowled by the same bowler for six.

Patel's introduction changed the complexion of the match and when Dhoni turned to spin in the 18th over, Harbhajan Singh had Jayasuriya brilliantly caught by Raina with his second ball.

A disappointed Jayasuriya left the middle, as if he knew that the game had gone. If it hadn't when he left, it almost certainly had when his captain, Jayawardene, was run out by Virat Kohli for 16.

That seemed to kick India into action. Knowing that Sri Lanka's most explosive hitters were out of the way, Dhoni turned to Harbhajan and Yuvraj to hurry through the middle overs and was rewarded with three lbw decisions and a stumping to leave Sri Lanka reeling on 190 for eight.

Thushara, whose performance with the ball earlier drew comparisons with Stuart Broad after his heroics at Trent Bridge, then proved that as a batsman he has just as much promise as the England all-rounder by hitting two sixes in a defiant innings before he was the last man to fall, caught in the deep by Raina off of Zaheer Khan.

In the process Thushara became the second man (after Jayasuriya) to take five wickets in an ODI and then hit more than 30 runs, but that will be scant consolation for a Sri Lanka side which has now lost two home ODI series on the trot after last winter's defeat to England.

India Sri Lanka
44 for one 10 overs 34 for one
92 for three 20 overs 87 for three
146 for three 30 overs 132 for five
215 for three 40 overs 179 for seven
258 all out End 212 all out

India made no changes from the team that won last time out while Sri Lanka made one change, replacing Chamara Silva with opener Warnapura.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2008