Sri Lanka race to 9-wicket win over India
Sri Lanka exacted a sweet revenge on India with a crushing nine-wicket victory in the second ODI here today, to draw the series level at 1-1.
It was an absolutely contrasting performance by the Indian batsmen from their last match, as they were bundled out for a paltry 138 in only 33.3 overs.
Chasing a target of 139, which isn't good enough for even Twenty20 format, Sri Lankan openers Upul Tharanga (59 no, 60 balls) and Tillekaratne Dilshan (50, 49 balls, 5x4) added 119 runs as the islanders hardly broke sweat while racing to the target in only 19.5 overs.
The win also means that India won't get a shot at No 1 spot in ICC ODI rankings, for which they needed a 5-0 margin in the current series.
Although the second ODI was played on a different strip, it was inexplicable as to how a team, which scored 314 a couple of days back, showed complete lack of application to get out inside the 34th over. Save opener Gautam Gambhir, who scored a fighting 65 (96 balls, 4x4), the other batsmen paid heavy price for their indiscretion on a pitch that demanded judicious shot selection.
Although there was a greenish tinge, the pitch, which was primarily on the lower side, also produced the odd deliveries that reared up from the three quarter.
Earlier, pacemen Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews each bagged three wickets as Sri Lanka dismissed India for 138.
Perera finished with 3-19 and Mathews with 3-14 to boost their team's hopes of levelling the five-match series after India elected to bat in windy conditions.
Opener Gautam Gambhir top-scored with a 96-ball 65 for India, who won the opening one-dayer by 21 runs on Saturday. He was the last man out, caught behind off fast bowler Lasith Malinga after hitting four boundaries.
Ravichandran Ashwin (21), opener Virender Sehwag (15) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (11) were the others to reach double-figures in a dismal Indian batting performance.
The Sri Lankan pacemen were backed by wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara, who held four catches.
Perera jolted India when he grabbed three wickets, including those of the previous match's main scorers Sehwag and Virat Kohli (one), in his opening three overs without conceding a run.
Kohli had made an impressive 106 and Sehwag a brisk 96 on Saturday.
Perera struck in his first over when he held a superb return catch to dismiss Sehwag and then had Kohli caught behind to put pressure on India.
Mathews reduced India to 38-3 when he bowled Rohit Sharma for no score before Perera removed Suresh Raina (one) for his third wicket.
India retained the side which won the first match while Sri Lanka replaced injured paceman Nuwan Kulasekara with debutant seamer Isuru Udana, who conceded 16 runs in his opening over, including five wides.
The last three matches will be played in Colombo (July 28 and 31) and Pallekele (August 4).
The one-day series will be followed by a one-off Twenty20 international in Pallekele on August 7.