|Wednesday, 28 July 2004|
Jayasuriya's century in vain - India enter final
by Sa'adi Thawfeeq
Sanath Jayasuriya's virtuoso batting performance was not enough to stop India from entering the Asia Cup cricket final as they edged past Sri Lanka by four runs in a nerve-tingling finish under lights at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday.
Chasing a total of 271-6 in 50 overs, Sri Lanka finished on 267-9 in 50 overs, giving India an unlikely win, which was not on the cards as long as Jayasuriya was at the wickets. The powerfully built left-hander bludgeoned his way to a magnificent 130 off 132 balls (13 fours, 1 six) to almost single-handedly carry Sri Lanka to victory. But his dismissal at 254 in the first ball of the 48th over saw Sri Lanka lose three wickets for 12 runs in 15 balls and the pendulum swung India's way.
Sri Lanka needed 10 runs off the final over, but managed only five and lost the wicket of Maharoof. Malinga scored a single off the penultimate ball, leaving Zoysa to hit a six off the last ball to win the match. But he played and missed the final delivery from Zaheer Khan and India was in the final. India meets Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Yesterday's win knocks Pakistan out of the final and makes their final phase 2 match against Bangladesh on Thursday irrelevant.
The steady fall of wickets at the other end did not dissuade Jayasuriya from displaying his full repertoire of strokes to reach his 18th one-day century and his fifth against India. The trademark square cut, the drive and the pull were all quite evident as he tore into the Indian bowling to complete back to back centuries. He scored 107 not out against Bangladesh on Sunday.
Fast bowler Zaheer Khan returning to the side after injury suffered the most conceding 21 runs (5 fours) in his fourth over, but he had the last laugh when he bowled a superb final over to put India in the final.
Sri Lanka began their run chase badly losing Gunawardene for seven in the fourth over and then slumped to 134-5 in the 27th over before they were rescued by Jayasuriya and Dilshan who shared a sixth wicket record of 100 for the sixth wicket off 105 balls. Dilshan's share of it was 39 off 46 balls (3 fours). The partnership improved on the previous highest of 81 by Pakistan pair Inzamam-ul-Haq and Wasim Akram against India at Sharjah in 1994-95.
However man-of-the-match Virender Sehwag struck vital blows to break the partnership by dismissing both Jayasuriya and Dilshan to end with figures of three for 37 to go with his knock of 81.
In this do-or-die game for them, India won who won the toss and batted first reached 271-6 wickets off 50 overs with contributions coming from Sehwag (81), skipper Sourav Ganguly (79) and Yuvraj Singh (50).
India lost the important wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for 18 in the seventh over when Nuwan Zoysa trapped him lbw, but they recovered through a second wicket stand of 134 off 157 balls between Sehwag and Ganguly.
The pair rode their luck during the partnership as Sri Lanka's fielding lowered itself one notch with catches being grassed and the outfielding not at all tidy as had been in the previous games.
Gunawardene missed Sehwag (6) at extra cover and Jayawardene gave him another reprieve (33) in the slips. Ganguly survived a confident lbw decision at 16 off Maharoof which West Indian umpire Bill Doctrove negatived and then at 35, he had the benefit of a TV decision for a disputed catch held by Jayawardene at long off. TV replays showed the ball falling in front of the fielder before he held it.
The pair took the total to168 in 33 overs before Sri Lanka finally separated them. Jayasuriya won a caught behind decision against Sehwag who departed with his score on 81 made off 92 balls with six fours and two sixes.
Maharoof who bowled a tight length was finally rewarded for his perseverance when he forced Dravid to edge a catch behind the wicket for one.
Ganguly then found another ally in Yuvraj and the pair added a run a ball 71 runs for the fourth wicket. Ganguly's lengthy innings finally ended in the 46th over when he mishit a ball to mid-on. His knock of 79 came off 120 balls (9 fours) and was somewhat subdued.
Yuvraj continued to attack the Sri Lanka bowling which was hampered by the absence of their two most prolific wicket-takers Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan.
With his limited attack skipper Atapattu handled the bowlers judiciously to keep India within a total within limits. Yuvraj holed out to Gunawardene at long off after making a half century off 46 balls (5 fours) and Sri Lanka did well to contain India in the final 10 slog overs where they were allowed to score 68 runs.
Maharoof was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers finishing with figures of one for 37 off eight overs and it was hard to understand why Atapattu did not use him for the full quota. Malinga who bowled at the death was also impressive picking up two wickets for 56 runs off 10 overs, to compensate for Vaas's absence. The seldom-used off-breaks of Dilshan came pretty useful to make up Muraliltharan's quota. He conceded 49 runs in ten overs.
Confusion over team list
There was some confusion before the start of play when it came to light that Indian skipper Ganguly had submitted an ambiguous team list to Sri Lanka which conflicted with what he had told the TV presenter at the toss. Sri Lanka brought it to the notice of the match referee Mike Procter and requested for a re-toss because the team's submitted to them was not the right one. However Procter decided against it and said that Sri Lanka will have to take Ganguly's word that it was a 'mistake' on his part.
"We were very unhappy about what happened. This is an international match and mistakes of this nature cannot be allowed to happen," said Sri Lanka team manager Ajit Jayasekera. He said that the team submitted to them did not have the name of Harbhajan Singh but Ganguly mentioned the spinner's name to the presenter.
INDIA S. Tendulkar lbw b Zoysa 18 V. Sehwag c Sangakkara b Jayasuriya 81 S. Ganguly c Chandana b Malinga 79 R. Dravid c Sangakkara b Maharoof 1 Y. Singh c Gunawardene b Malinga 50 M. Kaif run out 1 P. Patel not out 13 I. Pathan not out 8 Extras (lb-2 w-14 nb-4) 20 TOTAL (for six wickets, 50 overs) 271 FALL OF WICKETS: 1-34 2-168 3-169 4-240 5-248 6-255 DID NOT BAT: A. Kumble, Z. Khan, H. Singh BOWLING: Zoysa 8-0-49-1 (w-7), Malinga 10-0-56-2 (nb-2,w-3), Dilshan 10-0-49-0 (w-2), Maharoof 8-0-37-1 (nb-2 w-1), Chandana 7-0-42-0 (w-1), Jayasuriya 4-0-17-1, Jayanatha 3-0-19-0. SRI LANKA A. Gunawardene c Pathan b Khan 7 S. Jayasuriya c & b Sehwag 130 S. Jayantha c Patel b Pathan 5 M. Atapattu c Y.Singh b H.Singh 8 K. Sangakkara c Tendulkar b Sehwag 15 M. Jayawardene b Tendulkar 18 T. Dilshan b Sehwag 39 U. Chandana c Y.Singh b Pathan 11 F. Maharoof b Z.Khan 4 N. Zoysa not out 3 L. Malinga not out 1 Extras (lb-14 b-4 w-8) 26 TOTAL (nine wickets, 50 overs) 267 FALL OF WICKETS: 1-20, 2-36, 3-76, 4-103, 5-134, 6-237, 7-254, 8-261, 9-266 BOWLING: I. Pathan 9-0-34-2 (w-2), Z. Khan 9-1-63-2 (w-4), H. Singh 10-0-41-1 (w-1), V. Sehwag 9-0-37-3 (w-1), A. Kumble 10-0-51-0, S. Tendulkar 3-0-23-1.
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