Sunday, September 13, 2009
As last night’s match between Sri Lanka and India meandered to a close, fans at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium held aloft a placard which read: “Tonight’s special – Indians barbecued”.
It was an apt description of India’s fate in the third match of the Compaq Cup triangular series. They crashed to a 139-run defeat, their worst against Sri Lanka, with veteran Sanath Jayasuriya (98) and youngster Angelo Mathews (6-20) feasting on their neighbours from across the Palk Strait.
Jayasuriya simply relishes the Indian bowling attack. He has scored more runs (2,812) and centuries (seven) against India than versus any other country. Even his last century in one-day internationals had come against them in January this year.
Since then, he had been struggling for runs with a modest aggregate of 139 from eight games and a top score of 37. Critics were getting increasingly vocal about the 40-year-old’s position in the Sri Lankan side. But he replied them in style.
Jayasuriya’s knock and Thilina Kandamby’s unbeaten 91 helped Sri Lanka post 307 for six and the score proved well beyond the Indians, who were bowled out for 168 in 37.2 overs.
The attacking opener Jayasuriya got off to a typically blustery start as Sri Lanka posted 72 from the opening 10 overs. He was 42 then, but did not reach his 50 until the 20th over, starved of the strike as wickets fell regularly at the other end.
Still, his 68th half-century, and first in nine matches, came in 45 deliveries.
Exactly 10 overs later, Jayasuriya fell two agonising runs short of what could have been his 29th century in ODIs. He tried to work Ashish Nehra across the line and former teammate Kumara Dharmasena showed no hesitancy in raising his finger.
Jayasuriya was the fourth Sri Lankan wicket to fall, with the score at 172 for four. Thilina Kandamby continued from there and the 27-year-old made sure the good start was not wasted.
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