Dhaka: Chasing a total of over 300 is always a tough ask and Sri Lanka did no good to their cause as after a fantastic second wicket partnership of 93 runs between Mahela Jayawardene and Kumara Sangakarra, they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and finally lost the match to India by 50 runs in the Asia Cup encounter here on Tuesday.
Earlier a second wicket partnership of 205 runs between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, with both the Delhi batsmen scoring a century, helped India post a daunting total of 304 runs in the allotted 50 overs for the loss of three wickets.
Mahela Jayawardene’s decision to invite India to bat after calling it right with the coin nearly paid them good dividend as the RAS Lakmal walked away with the priced wicket of Sachin Tendulkar in the sixth over with the Indian scoreboard reading just 19.
Thereafter, Virat Kohli joined his Delhi team-mate and thereon began the resurrection of the Indian innings. Without showing the urgency to hit big shots, the left-right combination of Gautam and Virat resorted to rotating the strike and slowly but steadily, the duo kept on adding to the Indian scoreboard. The quick singles with occasional boundaries not only helped the duo reach the three figure mark, but also helped India cross the 200 mark with a run rate nearing five.
But when it looked as if the set batsmen would unleash their willow after reaching the individual centuries, both Gambhir (100) and Kohli (108) threw away their wickets, leaving two new batsmen in MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina at the crease. But the fantastic finishers as they are, Dhoni (46) and Raina (30) added a quick-fire 78 runs in 43 balls without losing their wickets and that gave advantage to India bowling second.
Irfan Pathan turned out to be the pick of the bowlers as he scalped four batsmen, including the priced wickets of Dilshan and Jayawardene. And after Jayawardene was back to the pavilion, things never looked the same for the Lankans. With the departure of Chandimal, Sangakkara and Thirimanne and the board still reading under 200 (198), it was always going to be difficult for the lower order batsmen. Sri Lankans were further pushed to the back-foot after Vinay Kumar scalped Kulasekara and Kapugedera on two successive balls in the 38th over and thereafter the writing was on the wall.