Ton-up Rayudu inspires India to 2-0 lead against Sri Lanka
Ahmedabad: Ambati Rayudu slammed his maiden hundred as India produced yet another impressive batting performance to comprehensively beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the second ODI at Motera on Thursday.
India now lead five-match series 2-0.
Batting first, Sri Lanka scored 274 for eight in stipulated 50 overs with skipper Angelo Mathews scoring 92. In reply, India never looked in any sort of trouble as they chased down the target with minimum fuss in only 44.3 overs.
Ambati Rayudu acknowledges the crowd after reaching his half century during the 2nd ODI match between India and Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
With Virat Kohli promoting him at No 3, the 29-year-old Rayudu justified his skipper's faith scoring an unbeaten 121 off 118 balls with the help of 10 fours and four sixes in an innings that was paced perfectly.
He shared two fruitful partnerships off 122 runs for the second wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (79) and 116 for the third wicket with Kohli (49) as the 'Men In Blue' made the inexperienced Sri Lankan bowling attack look pedestrian once again.
Fittingly enough, it was Rayudu, who finished the match with an inside out boundary off leggie Seekkuge Prasanna.
With this century, 29-year-old Rayudu became the fourth oldest Indian batsman to score his maiden ton in ODIs after Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath and Robin Singh.
Growing in confidence after reaching his half century, Rayudu lofted Dhammika Prasad for his third six when in the 80s, then confidently smote off spinner Suraj Randiv for another maximum in his 90s before reaching the coveted landmark with a single to square leg.
Rayudu's previous highest was 64 not out made in England at Nottingham in August as he showed a lot of maturity during his innings.
Having taken two catches and also effected a run-out, Rayudu deservingly won the man-of-the-match award.
The Guntur-born batsman first steadied the ship after the cheap dismissal of Ajinkya Rahane to stitch the first century stand with Dhawan, whose 79 off 80 balls was laced with 1 six and 7 fours.
The two teams now head to Hyderabad for the third match of the series to be played on November 9.
Earlier, skipper Mathews struck a fighting 92 to lift a struggling Sri Lanka to 274 for eight after opting to bat on a slowish Motera track.
The visitors lost early wickets but Mathews' unbeaten innings, laced with 10 fours and a six, and Kumar Sangakkara's useful 61 took the side to respectability. The duo stitched a crucial 90-run fourth-wicket partnership after Lanka were struggling at 64 for three.
With the visitors being reduced to 220 for eight in the 44th over, Mathews got support from number-ten batsman Dhammika Prasad and the duo stitched a valuable 54-run unbeaten partnership to give the islanders the necessary push in the end.
Indian pace spearhead Umesh Yadav (2-54) struck with two important wickets before spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (2-49) and young left-arm spinner Akshar Patel (2-39) took charge to hurt the Sri Lankan batting.
Ravindra Jadeja, brought into the side for injured Varun Aaron, disappointed though he took a wicket with his slow left-arm spin as he conceded 64 runs.
Ishant Sharma bowled well initially but gave away runs in the last over to conceded 58 runs without any success while Yadav (2 for 54) bowled a bit too short or too wide at times.
Sri Lanka commenced on a poor note when Kusal Perera, who had replaced Upul Tharanga, fell to the sixth ball of the match when he played across and was trapped leg before by Umesh Yadav.
Tilekaratne Dilshan, at the other end, batted aggressively and took ten runs with the help of two successive fours in speedster Yadav's second over.
The seasoned batsman then hit Ashwin for four successive fours in the bowler's first over, and tenth of the innings, to give the innings some momentum as the Lankan total reached 50.
However, he tried to cut an arm ball fired into the stumps by Patel in the very next over and lost his stumps after having added 51 runs for the second wicket with Sangakkara. He also hit 7 fours in making 35 off 30 balls.
Ashwin, then, made amends for his first-over profligacy by inducing the other senior batsman in the line-up, Mahela Jayawardene, to flick straight to mid wicket fielder Ambati Rayudu, who took a diving catch, to leave Lanka struggling. The two dismissals arrested the run-rate and Sangakkara and captain Mathews eschewed risky shots and started the innings rebuilding process.
Mathews slog-swept Ashwin over mid-wicket for a six, but otherwise both batsmen were content in pushing the ball into gaps and taking runs.
The innings 100 was raised in 21.2 overs before 37-year-old Sangakkara reached his 87th half century in his 352nd game off 73 balls.
Lanka took the batting power play after 31 overs and India struck thrice during this set play period while the visitors put on 30 runs.
The big breakthrough for India came when Sangakkara surprisingly hit a full toss from Yadav, bowling his second spell, straight to the mid on fielder. Sangakkara's 61 came off 86 balls and had just four fours in it and the 90-run stand he figured in with captain Mathews in 111 balls restored the faltering innings.
Then the inexperienced Seekkuge Prasanna hit a six off Ishant and a leg-side four off Ravindra Jadeja before top-edging a sweep off the left arm bowler to deep fine leg fielder Rayudu.
Four balls later the fielder again did some smart work to run out Ashan Priyanjan at the non-striker's end from deep mid wicket after the batsman responded to a call from captain Mathews for the second run.
Lanka were left struggling at 179 for six at the end of the power play.
However, some wayward bowling by Jadeja, who was hit for three leg-side fours by Mathews and a straight six by Thisara Perera in the 40th over of the innings and the left arm bowler's 9th as Lanka moved to 205 for 6 after 40 overs.
Patel dismissed Perera in the next over as the batsman attempted an almighty heave to leg and lost his stumps to give the Indian newcomer his second wicket.
Mathews did not have enough support from the lower order as Suraj Randiv was bowled by Ashwin without having a clue about facing the bowler.
The medium pacers came back at the death and proved expensive as Lanka added 46 runs in the last 5 overs.