The Telegraph
Saturday , March 1 , 2014
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Kumar shows class

- Death bowling lets India down yet again as SL win by 2 wickets
Shikhar Dhawan, on way to his 94, on Friday

Fatullah: Experienced Kumar Sangakkara showed the way with a breathtaking 103 off 84 balls as Sri Lanka recovered from a middle-order collapse to pull off a thrilling two-wicket victory over India in the Asia Cup here Friday.

Chasing 265, the islanders rode on the 36-year-old’s masterclass to complete the task with four balls to spare at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium.

The win helped Sri Lanka jump to the top of table in the five-nation tournament.

With Shikhar Dhawan (94) and Virat Kohli (48) taking India to 264 for nine after being sent in to bat, Sri Lanka were cruising at 134 for one after the butter-fingered Indians dropped three catches.

But Ravindra Jadeja (3/30), who scalped two wickets in two balls, and Ravichandran Aswhin (2/42), brought back the Indians. However, Sangakkara stood firm till the penultimate over, in the process striking 12 boundaries and a six.

India’s death bowling was also to be blamed as they gave away 74 runs in the last 9.2 overs.

Continuing his dream run in Bangladesh that include one triple century, three centuries and two half-centuries across Test and ODI formats, Sangakkara looked in complete control even as he lacked support at the other end, after the departure of Kusal Perera (64).

With his team under pressure, the experienced campaigner ensured that he took Sri Lanka close to the target as he completed his 18th ODI century with a boundary in 83 balls, only to be dismissed by Mohammed Shami off the next ball.

By the time he was dismissed, the Lankans were close to the finishing line, requiring seven runs from nine balls.

With the scores levelled in the penultimate over, it was as good as over for India as they dropped their fourth catch, this time Dhawan goofing up at mid-off.

Earlier, Ajantha Mendis returned to haunt India as they were restricted to 264. Dhawan and Kohli led India’s recovery in a 97-run second wicket partnership before Mendis struck.

The spinner castled Kohli and Dhawan with his carrom ball en route to figures of four for 60 while off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake scalped three for 41 as India’s new-look middle-order struggled in the absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. (Agencies)