Dhoni phobia continues as Sri Lanka
Daminda Wijesuriya reporting from Baroda
The new Indian mauler Mahendra Singh Dhoni lessened the elongated
Sri Lankan suffering yesterday when he smashed a 79 ball 80 to see
India to a five wicket win with 10.3 overs to spare as the Lankans
hit a new low in international cricket to go down 6-1 at Baroda
Sri Lanka finished a tour to forget but nothing to be taken away
from the Indians as they played very high brand of cricket right
throughout in the series.
troubled from the first ball, Indian charge was backed by equal
contributions from batsmen and disciplined bowling. It looked like
captain Rahul Dravid wanted to give as much as possible rest to
his boys before their next series against South Africa and he sent
hard hitting Irfan Pathan at number three, followed by Mahendra
scored a swashbuckling 35 in 23 balls with two sixes and four hits
to the ropes. Mahela Jayawardane ran towards the boundary from mid
on to grab a splendid catch but Dhoni was there with his mighty
wicket keeper batsman had no mercy on Lankans as he hammered eight
fours and three sixes like the boundary was at his feet. Skipper
Dravid, who compiled a cultured 30 in 48 balls, ably supported Dhoni's
power packed 79 ball innings of 80.
a record partnership of 133 runs for the sixth wicket by Marvan
Atapattu and Russell Arnold guided Sri Lanka to score 244 for nine
in 50 overs and it was a mixture of textbook and improvised strokes
by those two seasoned campaigners at IPCL Stadium.
a surprise move to open with Tilan Samaraweera, Sri Lanka took a
shaky start as local boy, Irfan Pathan, bowling a madin over to
Samaraweera. Runs were hard to come by and only 54 runs were scored
Opening pair was back in the pavilion in six overs but Mahela Jayawardane
and Kumara Sangakkara added 57 runs to lift the score up to 77.
Sangakkara and Jayawardane faced 97 balls for 57 runs but their
patience for not to throw the wickets away proved vital in the latter
stages of the innings. Jayawardane was caught again while trying
to flick before Sangakkara got out to a frustrated shot.
man in form faced 58 balls, sending five of them pass the rope,
for his 32 but it was evident that he was looking more in the same
number of balls.
R.P. Singh triggered a mini collapse in the 25th over before Arnold
and Atapattu repair the damage with a record-breaking partnership
for the 6th wicket. The previous record partnership for the sixth
wicket worth 132, between Arjuna Ranatunga and Ruwan Kalpage at
Hydrabad in 1993.
skipper was rotating the strike while hitting the odd ball to boundary.
Arnold was aggressive from the out set as he included five fours
and two towering sixes to his half-century in 57 balls.
The right hand-left hand combination was there in the 45th over,
with 204 runs on the board, but Harbajan Singh held two catches
in consecutive balls from Pathan to get rid of both.
sent five balls to the boundary rope before pulling Pathan in his
66th and the ball went down the throat of Harbajan at deep square
leg. In the next ball, Arnold chased wide out side the off stump
for a slashing drive and Harbajan was there. The left hander walked
back to the pavilion after facing the same number of balls that
is marked on his ODI shirt for 68 with seven fours and two sixes.