It was indeed a deciding match for India, the team’s last chance to survive in this tri-series amongst Australia and Sri Lanka. After a loss to Australia, the margin for error had narrowed down and today’s match against Sri Lanka in Adelaide had held the key to India’s fate in this series.
Sri Lanka began the encounter by winning the toss and electing to bat. India started their bowling attack with Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel, depending on them to show their acumen in this crucial match. And, they did start well with Munaf striking in his very 1st over. However, eventually Kumar Sangakkara hung in there and rescued Sri Lanka’s innings from a precarious start, to scoring 128 and sharing a 153-run stand with Mahela Jayawardene. Sri Lanka went on to post a fighting total of 239 runs making the Indians toil hard for victory.
Sri Lanka, needing a win to boost its chances of reaching the final of the series, recovered after a horrendous start. In the very first over, Tillakaratne Dilshan (4) was caught behind off Munaf Patel. He was soon joined by his skipper in the third over, when veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya was run out by Patel to make things even more challenging for Sri Lankans fighting with Indian bowlers at a of total 6-2.
Together, the third-wicket pair combined 153 runs in an innings-salvaging stand that ended when Jayawardene was run out for 71 in the 38th over after facing 99 balls. Sangakkara’s blistering knock that lasted 155 balls finally came to end on the last ball of the penultimate over, caught at deep mid-wicket off Pathan’s bowling for a resilient 128 that contained 12 boundaries.
India’s chase began in a sluggish manner with the Master-blaster, Sachin Tendulkar, being clean bowled by Malinga, before he could even feel the gravity of the situation. However, this was just the beginning, as India further crumbled to the Lankan’s attack, reaching a miserable stage of 35-3 when Yuvraj stepped into the crease. Finally, things came back into place as Dhoni scored a dependable half-century accompanied by Yuvraj in a fine knick scoring 70 out of 76 balls. It was this partnership that re-kindled the flame of victory in the heart of the Indian team and its supporters. Finally, Pathan also jumped in to contribute to the India’s streak of victory hitting 31 runs of 41 balls, hence making sure that India doesn’t lose out this half-set stage by Yuvraj and Dhoni.
After a much needed victory, it is time that the Indians continue to turn all odds in their favor so that the Indian fans can once again wish for a breathtaking final.
[image courtesy: http://www.cricketndtv.com/]