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19 Feb 2008 13:31
The enigmatic Yuvraj Singh finally returned to form to lead India to a thrilling and crucial two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their vital tri-series match in Adelaide on Tuesday.
The left-hander burst out of his tour-long slump to make a polished 76 as the Indians successfully chased down Sri Lanka’s 238 for six with five balls to spare, making 239 for eight.
With captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni again holding the chase together late in the innings with an unbeaten 50, the win strengthened India’s grip on second spot on the tri-series ladder headed by Australia.
The four points they gained for the win moved them to 12 points, six ahead of Sri Lanka, who have a game in hand.
Yuvraj had struggled for form since arriving in Australia, but from the moment he hit a boundary from his second ball his confidence was back.
He played some crisp drives and powerful pulls, belting the part-time spin of Sanath Jayasuriya into the stands.
Yuvraj reached his half-century in just 46 balls, and looked set for a century until he was undone by a Chaminda Vaas yorker.
He had faced 70 balls, hitting 10 fours and the one six and rescued his side after it slipped to 35 for three early in the chase.
Earlier, the class of Kumar Sangakkara once again revived Sri Lanka after a dismal start with the bat.
The Sri Lankan cause wasn’t helped by three run-outs, two dreadfully unlucky, but Sangakkara’s polished 128 helped them recover from a disastrous six for two.
Sangakkara struck the ball too well at times, twice freakishly running out unlucky teammates when his straight drives deflected off the bowler’s hand onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
Veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya was the first batsman to fall in that fashion, run out from the bowling of Munaf Patel in the second over after a powerful Sangakkara drive.
Then Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, who had resurrected the Sri Lankan innings by making 71 in a 153-run partnership with Sangakkara, fell the same way with Praveen Kumar the lucky bowler.
It seemed a run-out was the only way the Indians would get a wicket for most of the innings, with Chamara Kapugedera also caught out of his ground by a direct hit from Rohit Sharma at point. - Sapa-AFP
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