A thriller of a contest between India and Sri Lanka that saw the second highest number of runs scored ever in an ODI saw the hosts win by a narrow margin of three runs. Chasing 415 for a win, Sri Lanka ran the Indians close before missing out on taking a 1-0 lead at Rajkot on a track that would have delighted the batsmen no end. >
Batting first after Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and decided to field first, India raked up a first wicket stand of 153 runs in less than 20 overs. Virender Sehwag continued his purple patch and in the company of Sachin Tendulkar mesmerized with the Lankan bowling after seeing a few overs off.>
Tendulkar did fall for 69, but that did not prevent the Indians from adding another 156 runs for the second wicket as MS Dhoni joined in the fun with Sehwag. By this time, Sehwag had got to another century, while Dhoni looked good to get one! Sehwag’s 146 came off only 102 balls, and at one stage it looked like he would definitely get to his 200, before the Batting Powerplay saw the Indians lose wickets in a hurry.>
Sehwag tried to flick one to leg and he was caught off the bowling of Chanaka Welegedara, while Dhoni (72) was deceived by a slower one from Dilhara Fernando. The rest of the batting save Ravindra Jadeja did not do much, and yet India finished with 414 on the board. Jadeja scored an unbeaten 30.
In reply, the Sri Lankans were given an equally strong start as the new opener Upul Tharanga added 188 with the batsman of the year for Sri Lanka – Tillakaratne Dilshan. Even Tharanga’s wicket – stumped off Suresh Raina – did not stem the flow of runs as Kumar Sangakkara smacked a sublime-looking 43-ball 90 to almost carry the Lankans close to the target.
In fact, at 316/1 in the 37th over, it was their match to lose and that is precisely what they did. Sangakkara pulled one off Praveen Kumar to the fielder on the fence, and this was followed Sanath Jayasuriya, Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene lose their wickets at quick succession.
After this, Thilina Kandamby and Angelo Mathews did get going in a 56-run stand, but could not withstand the pressure exerted by the Indian bowling in the end. 14 runs were needed off 11 when Kandamby was run-out, while the rest of them followed without too much fuss. Five runs were needed off the last ball and Ashish Nehra yorked the batsman and allowed him only one run to win the game for his side. Sehwag won the man of the match.