An outstanding display of seam bowling from Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera helped Sri Lanka beat India by 51 runs in their one-day international tri-series match in Brisbane on Tuesday. After Sri Lanka scored 289-6, man of the match Kulasekara took 3-40 and Perera 4-37 as India were bowled out for 238 in 45.1 overs — their second loss in three days following their defeat by Australia at the Gabba on Sunday.
Sri Lanka moved into second on the tri-series points table following the win and are now on 11 points, three behind the Australians and one ahead of India.
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and chose to bat on a hot and humid Brisbane afternoon and his batsmen were always on top of the Indian bowling attack.
Lahiru Thirimanne scored a quick-fire 62 in the middle of the order and big-hitting Angelo Mathews smashed 49 not out from 37 balls as the Sri Lankans blasted 91 runs off the last 10 overs.
Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 2-50 while left arm seamer Irfan Pathan took 2-54.
The Indian run-chase began badly with skipper Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar both falling early and any hopes of overhauling the Sri Lanka total were dashed as they lost wickets at crucial moments.
Virat Kohli was dropped twice by Dinesh Chandimal on his way on his way to 66, once on 14 and the second on 32, with the only other real contribution coming from Pathan, who smashed 47 from 34 deliveries to ensure Sri Lanka missed out on the bonus point win.
India’s innings got off to the worst possible start when they lost Sehwag in the second ball off the innings, caught at third man going after a short ball outside off stump from Lasith Malinga.
Fellow opener Tendulkar, still hunting an elusive 100th international century, looked in superb touch as he raced to 22 at a run a ball until he shouldered arms to Kulasekara, only for the ball to hit the inside edge of his bat and cannon into off stump.
Gautam Gambhir was next, perishing meekly after a promising start, guiding a ball from the impressive Kulasekera to Thisara Perera in the gully.
India were looking shaky at 54-3 but Kohli and Suresh Raina dug in and slowly nudged the run rate up, defying some tight bowling by the Sri Lankans.
The pair put on 92 before Raina fell, chipping a simple catch off Farveez Maharoof to Thirimanne for 32, leaving the Indians 146-4 from 31 overs.
Any hope of overhauling the Sri Lankans disappeared when Kohli was tucked up by Perera attempting a pull shot which went straight to Kulasekara at mid-on.
Pathan offered resistance but he kept losing partners and was last man out when Perera took a superb caught and bowled chance to wrap up the Indian innings. — AFP