Chasing a herculean 349-run target, India lost to Sri Lanka by 161 runs in the Celkon Moblie Cup at Sabina Park in Kingston. After their bowlers had been clobbered for plenty of runs, the Indian batsmen faced an uphill battle from the get go and were bowled out for 187 runs in 44.5 overs, in the ongoing tri-series in the Caribbean. (Also Read: India vs Sri Lanka: Tri Series 2013 - Statistical Highlights)
Put in to bat by India’s stand-in captain, Virat Kohli, the Sri Lankan batters took the opposition bowling apart. After complementing Mahela Jayawardene in milking the bowlers, Upul Tharanga blunted the attack in the company of Angelo Mathews later in the innings. The left-hand bat, in his second outing upon returning to the national side, played a memorable knock to remain unbeaten on 174. (Also See: Images: India vs Sri Lanka: Tri Series 2013)
Earlier, back at the top of the order for the tri-series, Jayawardene led the way for Sri Lanka with a magnificent batting display. Dropped off Ravindra Jadeja’s first over on 25, the experienced campaigner made India rue the missed opportunity as he plundered the bowling attack. Not to be left behind, Tharanga matched his momentum in piling on runs. Kohli’s various bowling changes, including bringing himself into the attack, could not break the rhythm into which the SL openers had settled.
The former Sri Lanka captain was the first to reach three figures as he brought up his 16th ODI century with a single off Ishant Sharma. The pair then posted their third double-century stand together, until their run making was halted at 213. It was also the seventh time that Tharanga was involved in a double-century stand in ODIs, in the process equaling Ricky Ponting’s record.
After sending the ball sailing over long-off for a six, Jayawardene’s reverse sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin on the next delivery was caught by Umesh Yadav, ending a glorious innings. With the end of SL’s highest opening stand against India, Angelo Mathews brought himself up the order ahead of Kumar Sangakkara to accelerate the run-rate. As Tharanga received a couple of lives en route his century, the duo built on the solid foundation.
The opener unleashed his blade after reaching the three-figure mark and coasted to his 150 as he kept finding the ropes with ease. He smashed three sixes and 19 boundaries during his 159-ball essay. Thanks to his exploits, SL managed to post 348 for one in 50 overs.
Facing a formidable task, India lost Rohit Sharma with just 12 runs on the board in the fifth over; the opener hit Nuwan Kulasekara straight to Mathews at mid-wicket. That brought Murali Vijay to the crease in place of India’s regular No.3, Kohli. 40 runs later, Shikhar Dhawan holed out to deep mid-wicket and in the next over, the stand-in captain also followed him to the hut after hitting Mathews to Lasith Malinga at fine-leg.
A couple of overs later, Malinga crashed Vijay’s stumps to leave India struggling on 65 for four. Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik then grafted runs and were looking to a build a solid partnership. The pair had added 53, before Karthik stepping out to Hearth was stumped, bringing to end his labourious stay in the middle.
Raina continued to rally on with Ravindra Jadeja, but with the run-rate creeping up, the batsmen had to take their chances. Raina was finally run-out for 33. With more than 200 runs required, Ashwin took guard, but departed after adding four to the total. Soon, Sachithra Senanayake castled Shami Ahmed. Herath then removed Ishant Sharma, while Malinga wrapped up the innings by bowling Umesh Yadav and leaving Jadeja stranded on 49.
Having lost both their matches so far in the series, India will face West Indies in a must-win game at Port of Spain.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 348/1 in 50 overs (U Tharanga 174*, M Jayawardene 107) beat India 187 all-out in 44.5 overs(R Jadeja 49, R Herath 3/37, L Malinga 2/40) by 161 runs
Man of the Match: Upul Tharanga for his unbeaten 174-run knock
Upul Tharanga is the Man of the Match. Tharanga: "I played a game after six months. Today's game Mahela batted really well. It helped me a lot. After I got the hundred, we had only 12-13 overs and nine wickets remaining, I had to go. Luckily I connected. After Champions Trophy, winning a game against India is a huge thing, this century will help me a lot as well."
Mahela Jayawardene: "Needed to get a start, losing the toss on a sticky wicket. First ten overs were crucial. They bowled well upfront, we had to ride that, and then we put the pressure back on them."
Angelo Mathews: "We needed that, especially after losing the toss, we were on the back foot. Mahela showed his class. Upul struggled a bit initially but batted through and was brilliant later. We needed to get that 250, bowlers never let us down if we score 250. Hats off to Mahela and Upul. I am doing my bit the way I can."
Virat Kohli: "Tough day at the office, we were not up to the mark with the ball. Sri Lankans batted really well, and we did not. To chase down 349, you need a quick start, we were not able to do that, that did not give us momentum. The way we have been batting, don't think we needed to consider that option [pinch-hitter]. It didn't happen today. Reality check for us, we have to analyse what we did wrong. We have two more games to go. This is going to hurt the guys a little bit."