India has beaten the Sri Lankans by 46 runs to lift the Compaq Cup tri-series thanks to a classic century by Sachin Tendulkar and a five-wicket haul by Harbhajan Singh. With this, India only won their fifth finals since the start of this decade! >
The RPS in Colombo is a bat-first wicket, and sure enough, the Indians won the toss and decided to bat first. Virat Kohli was taken in place of Dinesh Karthik, but Rahul Dravid opened the innings for India with Sachin Tendulkar. Dravid played on scratchily, but it was Tendulkar who set the tempo with a blistering knock. He started with boundaries on the off-side, especially in the region of the extra-cover and soon got to his fifty. >
Dravid was dropped a couple of times, before he perished for 39, but an M.S.Dhoni half century saw India get closer to the 300-run mark. Once the fielding restrictions were lifted, Tendulkar manoeuvred the ball into the gaps and brought up his 44th century, while Dhoni had his fifty. Both fell, but that did not stop Yuvraj Singh from hammering the Lankan bowlers for another fifty – 56 off 41 balls!
India scored 319/5 in their fifty overs, and that meant that Sri Lanka had to get to the highest total in this stadium to win the game.
They were given a blitzkrieg of a start by the two openers, T.Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya, who added 64 in 7.4 overs. However, it was the introduction of the slow bowlers that turned things around for the bowling team. Harbhajan Singh went for a boundary first up but was soon rewarded with the wicket of Dilshan bowled while to cut the offie – while Mahela Jayawardene offered a simple catch back to the same bowler. Jayasuriya looked good, but, like Dilshan, he hit a boundary off Yusuf Pathan before being caught while attempting the same shot.
Surprise number five batsman Thilan Thushara did not last too long, and when Angelo Mathews was also dismissed, it was dependent on the Lankan captain to see them through. He made a valiant attempt with a 37-ball 33, but soon had his bat falling onto his stumps and was out hit-wicket, while a late order acceleration from Thilina Kandamby – 94-ball 66 – and Chamara Kapugedera saw the Lankans getting close, but not close enough to steal a win. Harbhajan Singh returned back for his third spell and got rid of Kandamby, Malinga and Mendis to end with five wickets, as India won the game by 46 runs.
Tendulkar not only won the man-of-the-match award, but was also given the man-of-the-series award for his consistent batting in the series.