Yuvraj powers India home

In their last game before the World Cup, the Indian batting line-up fired in style to chase down 260 by seven wickets against Sri Lanka.

Three of the top five scored half-centuries, after Chamara Silva’s hundred helped Sri Lanka to 259. The match was reduced to 47 overs a side and India raced out of the blocks. Sourav Ganguly was forced to retire hurt with cramp in the first over, but that only brought Robin Uthappa in.

Uthappa went on to smash 52 from 37 balls, including 4 boundaries in a single Dilhara Fernando over. Punishing the Sri Lankans when they strayed in length or line, he got the Indian innings off to a lightning start before he looped Farveez Maharoof to mid-off.

He shared a partnership of 86 with Virender Sehwag, who looked in good touch himself. Playing nicely square of the wicket, his innings of 46 was brought to a premature end. Taking a single to third man, he jogged lazily down the wicket towards the non-striker’s end. When the return throw came in, Kumar Sangakkara threw down the stumps, and the third umpire gave Sehwag out.

The only other Indian wicket to fall was that of Dinesh Karthik, Fernando holding a good catch from a leading catch. Ganguly was now recovered and back at the wicket, and joined by Yuvraj Singh. Together, they added 145 at a run a ball, to see India comfortably home.

Both found the boundary on more than a few occasions, and with an apparent lack of effort. Early in Yuvraj’s innings, he lofted a glorious six off Fernando and struck two more in his innings, as well as 11 fours. Ganguly was slightly more reserved, but still had no qualms with going over the top, his three sixes oozed arrogance and class.

Neither batsman looked to have any problems, the pitch was good for batting and the bowling was fairly ordinary. The end a came with a blitz from Yuvraj, Maharoof was dispatched for 22 in the last over of the match. India completed victory with 9 overs and seven wickets to spare, and wrapped up another confident series win.

Had it not been for Chamara Silva though, they wouldn’t have had so much of a target to chase. He came in at 56-4, where Sri Lanka had slipped to from 42-0. Ajit Agarkar made a double strike, removing Jayasuriya after a brisk 22 and a struggling Mahela Jayawardene. Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth dismissed Kumar Sangakkara and Marvan Atapattu respectively.

With his team in such a poor position, it was a circumspect beginning for Silva. He shared a slow but crucial partnership of 68 with Tillakaratne Dilshan, before the latter fell to Ganguly’s medium pace. Towards the end of this partnership, Silva attacked Harbhajan Singh, taking two fours and a six off an over. Russel Arnold joined him at the crease at the fall of Dilshan, and they shared 41. As with Dilshan, it was more about rotation of the strike and good running than big hitting.

He also added important runs with Maharoof. While Silva was marshalling the lower order exquisitely, Maharoof struck a couple of lusty blows in his 28, which helped Sri Lanka score 76 in the last seven overs. There was also a handy partnership in the final three overs with Malinga Bandara. Silva really took control here, Bandara scored just five in the partnership of 30, which took less than three overs. He brought up his maiden ODI hundred in his 14th match during this partnership, and it really was an excellent innings, but sadly for Sri Lanka, it was not a match-winning one.

Sri Lanka 259-7
Chamara Silva 107*
Ajit Agarkar 2-52, Zaheer Khan 2-54

India 263-3
Yuvraj Singh 95*, Sourav Ganguly 58*, Robin Uthappa 52

India win by seven wickets and win the series 2-1

Cricket Web Man of the Match : Chamara Silva

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