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India post nervy victory in second ODI
August 20, 2008 13:56 IST
Last Updated: August 20, 2008 18:17 IST
India went through several anxious moments before registering a three-wicket victory over Sri Lanka [Images] in a low-scoring second One-Day International in Dambulla, on Wednesday.
Pacers Zaheer Khan [Images] (4 for 21) and Praveen Kumar (3 for 24) ripped through Sri Lanka's batting to bundle them out for a paltry 142 in 38.3 overs before the Indians also recovered from a top-order slump to cruise home with 10.2 overs to spare.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] (39) played a pivotal role, batting cautiously to help India overhaul the target and make amends for the humiliating eight-wicket thrashing in the first one-dayer at the same venue on Monday.
Dhoni, who has now taken up the role of finisher, was bowled by Dilhara Fernando with India needing only eight runs for victory. But the small target still seemed quite daunting as the visitors lost the wicket of Harbhajan Singh [Images] before S Badrinath (27 not out) hit the winning stroke much to the delight of his teammates.
Chasing Sri Lanka's modest target, the Indians plunged into trouble straightaway and were reduced to a precarious 16 for 2 within five overs, makeshift opener Irfan Pathan [Images] (5) and Suresh Raina (1) returning to the pavilion cheaply.
The going got tough for the visitors as Virat Kohli (37), Yuvraj Singh [Images] (20) and Rohit Sharma (0) also perished in quick succession, leaving India's hopes in tatters.
Paceman Nuwan Kulasekara provided the early breakthroughs for Sri Lanka, accounting for Pathan and Raina, while Thilina Tushara also chipped in with two wickets in his first spell.
With the Indians reeling at 75 for five, captain Dhoni and S Badrinath, drafted into the team in place of an indisposed Gautam Gambhir [Images], steadied the innings by batting sensibly on a track that provided assistance to the pace bowlers.
Dhoni was content in curbing his natural strokeplay and kept the scoreboard moving with gentle nudges and pushes. He found good support from Badrinath, who looked quite composed at the middle.
As the duo took the score closer to the victory target, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene [Images] was forced to turn to his spin trump cards, Muttiah Muralitharan [Images] and Ajantha Mendis [Images], to break the partnership.
The teams will now travel to Colombo, where the third match will be played at the Premadasa stadium on Sunday.
Although Dhoni and Badrinath saw the team through, the victory was far from convincing as the top order of the batting again fell apart.
Earlier, Dhoni invited the Sri Lankans to bat first, and the pace duo of Zaheer and Praveen Kumar backed his decision in fantastic fashion.
Left-arm paceman Zaheer triggered the Lankan collapse by clean bowling Kumar Sangakkara off the last ball of his first over.
Sangakkara's lazy waft without movement cost him dearly as the ball landed outside the off stump, seamed back and rattle his stumps.
Zaheer followed it up with the wickets of Jayawardene (2) and Chamara Kapugedara (0) before Praveen dismissed Chamara Silva (0).
Sri Lanka never recovered from the early blows and, to rub salt on their wounds, Zaheer scalped explosive opener Sanath Jayasuriya [Images] (13), leaving the hosts reeling at 33 for five.
Zaheer kept troubling the Lankans with good pace and a teasing line and length while Praveen tested the hosts, his swinging deliveries often inducing edges.
Runs were hard to come against such a disciplined attack and the hosts reached the 50-run mark only after 21.2 overs.
Out-of-form Irfan Pathan tasted his first success when Tillakaratne Dilshan [Images] (16) pulled a short-of-length delivery in the air. Debutant Badrinath ran as fast as his legs could carry him and held a good diving catch to make it 44 for six.
It required a special effort to reach a respectable total and a 74-run seventh-wicket partnership between Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara helped avoid a complete rout.
Thushara hit a very useful 44, inclusive of seven boundaries, and was ably supported by Kualsekara, who scored a 25-run cameo after being dropped by Rohit Sharma at an individual score of 13.
Praveen then ended the frustration by dismissing both batsmen in the 34th over.
Harbhajan Singh then made it 122 for 9 when he had Ajantha Mendis caught and bowled for no score.
Dilhara Fernando was the last to go, caught by Kohli off Harbhajan for 12.
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