|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Pacers propel India into tri-series finals
February 26, 2008 09:09 IST
Last Updated: February 26, 2008 11:45 IST
India stormed into the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series finals after a clinical display by their young pace bowlers helped them thrash Sri Lanka [Images] by seven wickets in a low-scoring game in Hobart on Tuesday.
Desperately needing to win the last match to secure a place in the best-of-three finals against Australia, the Indians completely dominated the encounter, as pace sensation Ishant Sharma (4/41) and rookie pacer Praveen Kumar (4/31) bundled out the Islanders for a paltry 179 in 47.1 overs to set up the victory.
The Indian batsmen then overhauled the target without much fuss, with 17.4 overs to spare, in what turned out to be a one-sided encounter at the Bellerive Oval.
Sachin Tendulkar [Images], who has not been in the best of touch in the series, marked his return to form with a sizzling 54-ball 63 on a good batting track.
Gautam Gambhir [Images], who remained not out on 64 off 90 balls, held the innings together after Robin Uthappa, promoted to open the innings, was out cheaply for 11 in the second over.
The Delhi batsman also hit the winning runs off Muttiah Muralitharan, who was hammered for 54 runs from his 8.2 overs.
The emphatic victory also gave India a bonus point, taking their tally to 17 points from eight matches.
Australia have 26 points while Sri Lanka are at the bottom of the table with six points.
The last match between Australia and Sri Lanka on Friday has now been rendered inconsequential.
The first of the best-of-three finals will be played on March 2 in Sydney.Sri Lanka were in danger of settling for a smaller total when they slumped to 93-7 in the 26th over but Chamara Kapugedera rescued the innings with a stubborn 57.
They made a strong start at Bellerive Oval when opener Sanath Jayasriya and wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara took the score along to 72-1 in the 15th over before wickets suddenly started to tumble.
Sangakkara went for 33, then Jayasuriya followed for 34, as Kumar and Sharma ripped through the middle-order, picking up six wickets for 21 runs in 11 overs.
Kapugedara, who was recalled to the side for Farveez Maharoof, gave the Sri Lankans something to bowl at, striking four boundaries in his 86-ball knock before he was the last man out.
He was involved in two important stands -- of 46 and 40 runs -- with Lasith Malinga [Images] (12) and Muttiah Muralitharan (13) for the seventh and eighth wickets respectively before his dismissal in the 47th over.