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India ride Shikhar Dhawan’s ton to beat Sri Lanka, clinch record 8th ODI series win

Posted on 17 December 2017 by admin

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 215 all out in 44.5 overs. (Upul Tharanga 95, Kuldeep Yadav 3/42) lost to India 219/2 in 32.1 overs. (Shikhar Dhawan 100*, Shreyas Iyer 65) by eight wickets. 

SHIKHAR DHAWAN

Shikhar Dhawan hammered his 12th fifty and was well-supported by Shreyas Iyer’s fifty after Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal picked up three wickets each to help India seal a crushing eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka and win their eighth consecutive bilateral ODI series. 

Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliant 12th century, combined with splendid bowling from Kuldeep Yadav (3/42) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/46), helped India crush Sri Lanka by eight wickets at the ACA-VDCA stadium in Visakhapatnam on Sunday to clinch the series 2-1. This was the hosts eighth consecutive bilateral ODI series win. 

It was a clinical performance by Rohit Sharma’s side which ensured that India ended 2017 without a single ODI series loss in bilateral contests. Chasing 216, India were jolted early when Akila Dananjaya bowled Rohit Sharma for 7 with a googly. 

Having lost the early wicket, Dhawan and Iyer played calmly. The left-hander broke the shackles by hammering Suranga Lakmal for two boundaries in the ninth over and this boosted Iyer’s confidence, who smashed Angelo Mathews for two boundaries in the 10th over.

Iyer notched up his second consecutive fifty off 44 balls by launching Sachith Pathirana over long on for a six. Dhawan slog-swept Akila Dananjaya over deep mid wicket to bring up his fifty off 46 balls. The 135-run stand ended when Iyer (65) miscued a pull shot off Thisara Perera to be caught at mid on.

Dhawan held firm and brought up his 12th ton off 84 balls by sweeping Asela Gunaratne to deep square leg to guide India to a comprehensive victory. However, the win for India was set-up earlier by the dynamic legspin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who dented Sri Lanka after they started aggressively.

UPUL THARANGA

Tharanga brilliant – Upul Tharanga missed out on his 16th century but became the third player to smash 1000 runs in ODIs in 2017 as Sri Lanka reached a strong position against India in the third and final ODI in Visakhapatnam. 

Upul Tharanga missed out on his 16th century in the third and final ODI at the ACA-VDCA stadium on Sunday as he was brilliantly stumped by MS Dhoni off Kuldeep Yadav for 95 off 82 balls. However, in the course of his knock, Tharanga went past 1000 runs in ODIs in 2017. 

Tharanga became the third player to go past 1000 runs in ODIs in 2017 after Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and in the process, also became the first Sri Lanka batsman since Tillakaratne Dilshan in 2015 to go past the landmark. 

After being inserted into bat, Tharanga started off brilliantly by hitting two consecutive boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. However, his aggression went to the next level in the ninth over as he blasted Hardik Pandya for five consecutive fours. The first boundary came thanks to an outside edge to third man while the second ball was lofted over mid on. The third ball was driven uppishly over cover and the fourth ball came courtesy yet another outside edge to third man. The fifth ball was hit over mid-off again.

The partnership between Tharanga and Samarawickrama went past fifty and the left-hander notched up his 36th fifty off just 36 balls. Tharanga continued to bat confidently by lofting Yuzvendra Chahal straight down the ground for a six and brought up the 100-run stand with Samarawickrama with a cut shot to deep backward point.

Inserted to bat, Sri Lanka started aggressively. Upul Tharanga, in particular, batted superbly by hitting two consecutive boundaries off Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah. He targeted Hardik Pandya by blasting him for five consecutive fours. The first boundary came thanks to a outside edge to third man while the second ball was lofted over mid on. The third ball was driven uppishly over cover and the fourth ball came courtesy yet another outside edge to third man. The fifth ball was hit over mid-off again.

The left-hander was ably supported by Sadeera Samarawickrama (42) and the pair put on 121 runs for the second wicket. On 80, Tharanga lofted Chahal over long on to become the third player after Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to go past 1000 runs in ODIs in 2017. At 160/2 in the 28th over, Sri Lanka were poised to reach a score in excess of 300.

Kuldeep, Chahal game-changers

Kuldeep Yadav changed the course of the match in the 28th over. Dhoni’s brilliant stumping caught Tharanga short for 95 and the chinaman struck again in the same over by removing Niroshan Dickwella for 8. Sri Lanka sunk even further when Chahal got the massive wicket of Angelo Mathews for 17 by bowling him with a ripping legbreak.

Kuldeep and Chahal proceeded to slice through the middle and lower order as Sri Lanka lost eight wickets for 55 runs to be bowled out for 215. The contributions from bowlers and batsmen at crucial times has been the key reason for India’s dominant run in 2017 and Visakhapatnam was a continuation of the trend.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 215 all out in 44.5 overs. (Upul Tharanga 95, Kuldeep Yadav 3/42) lost to India 219/2 in 32.1 overs. (Shikhar Dhawan 100*, Shreyas Iyer 65) by eight wickets. 

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Sri Lanka cruise to 7-wicket win in 1st ODI to lead 1-0 in three-match series

Posted on 10 December 2017 by admin

1st ODI Highlights, India (Ind) vs (SL) Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Beat India By 7 Wickets In Dharamsala.

Sri Lanka 114 for 3 (Upul Tharanga 49, Angelo Mathews 25 *, Niroshan Dickwella 26*) beat India 112 (Dhoni 65, Lakmal 4-13) by seven wickets.

Thisara Perera-led Sri Lanka bounced back from their Test series drubbing in style by beating India by seven wickets in the opening game of the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series at Dharamshala on Sunday. The Lankan lions left the number two ODI ranked team embarrassed as their bowlers did not allow the famed Indian batting line-up to perform to their capabilities. Winning the toss, Perera elected to bowl and put India into bat. Sri Lanka pacers Suranga Lakmal and Angelo Mathews ripped through the Indian batting top-order in swinging conditions as the home side were bowled out for 112. India, however, struck early through Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to reignite their hopes of an unlikely win. But a brilliant 49 from Upul Tharanga and a 49-run unbeaten stand between Angelo Mathews (25) and Niroshan Dickwella (26) got the visitors comfortably across the line.

Seldom do you see the Indian batsmen getting out cheaply but this time they could not counter the terrific Lankan bowling line-up as they were left troubled from the first ball of the innings. Eight of the Indian batsmen could not cross the double-digit with four of them recording a duck. Only MS Dhoni (65), Hardik Pandya (10) and Kuldeep Yadav (19) registered a double-digit score.

Veteran cricketer MS Dhoni and Kuldeep Yadav were the saving grace for India as they stitched together a partnership of 41 runs for the eighth wicket. While, Kuldeep perished for a well made 19 off 25 balls, Dhoni notched up a patient ODI half-century to help the hosts cross the 100-run mark.

For Sri Lanka, Lakmal was the pick of the bowlers as he finished with the figures of 10-4-13-4. He was ably supported by other pacers– Angelo Mathews (1/8) and Nuwan Pradeep (2/37). 

Interestingly, two of India's lowest totals below 100 have come against Sri Lanka — 78 in 1986 and 54 in 2000.

Apart from this India was bowled out for 63 against Australia in 1981 and for 79 in Pakistan in 1978.

That is it from us! The Lankans have shocked the world today but as Mathews said, they cannot afford to relax and need to build on the good work. With the series being a short one, India don't have much time to regroup and they need to address the issue quickly. Will they be able to level the series or will Sri Lanka clinch it in the next game? Join us for the second ODI on the 13th of December in Mohali at 1130 LOCAL (0600 GMT) to find out what happens next.

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Havies through in the nick of time against CR

Posted on 09 December 2017 by admin

 

By Vimal Perera – Courtesy: Sunday Times.

CR had to lose for the third week running – Pic by Priyantha Wickramaarachchi

CR&FC could have closed this game off against Havelocks in the first round of the Dialog Rugby League Championship played yesterday at Longdon Place. But fortune was never in their court, as Havelocks bundled up the game at 35 points -30 points in the end.

Two yellow cards in the eighth minute and the 35th of the second half for dangerous play coupled with some erratic moves gave the advantage to Havelocks, who led the halftime 19-13.

The Havies came in as obvious favourites, having lost only one match in the preceding five weeks while coming into this week’s game despite CR having the home advantage.

However, it turned to be a battle for being supreme in terms of the encounter being played for over 90 years. Havelocks scored from five tries, two conversions and three penalties while CR came close with a tally of three tries, two conversions and three penalties.

Havelocks kicked off, gained possession and worked the threes for centre Nishon Perera to touch down in the second minute. Dulaj Perera added the extra points, as Havelocks led 7-0.

CR scored in the 12th minute through flanker Gayan Dilshan, the conversion was made by Tarinda Ratwatte, 7-7. Havies try scorer Nishon Perera had to leave the field with an injury and was substituted. Havelocks were penalised in the 20th minute and Ratwatte kicked though for CR lead 10-7.

A series of moves saw Havelocks scoring in the 22nd minute through prop Prasad Madushanka, as Perera failed with the kick. They led 12-7. Then the Havies worked themselves into the CR 22 around the 30th minute but the Reds took advantage of a penalty for incorrect entry. CR kicked and were awarded a line out five metres from the Havelocks’ line as the visitors were penalised for side entry. CR worked the forwards and pushed to Havelocks ‘five’ but were blown for no release. CR failed to regroup, allowing Havelocks to kick deep and off the ensuring play Havelocks No.8 Lasindu Karunathilleke to touch down. Perera made no mistake from an angle close to the touch line for Havelocks to lead 19-13 at which point the break was taken.

Immediately on the resumption Park Club boys were penalised for incorrect entry and Ratwatte put over and CR were trailed 16-19. Seven minutes late CR prop Gayan Jayasekera was shown to the bin for a dangerous tackle.

In the 19th minute lock Chanaka Bandara picked from the base to score but conversion was missed by Perera and Havelocks extended the lead 24-16. In the 25th minute Havelocks Rukmal Fernando stole possession to set outside half Niroshan Fernando to score. Despite the conversion going astray, the Havies extended the lead to 29-16.

In the 17th minute repeated infringements by Havelocks on their 5metre line prompted referee Dinka Peiris to award a penalty try to CR, which helped reduce the gap for CR 23-29. CR took the lead in the 29th minute when the ball was sent down the line from inside Havelocks 22 for winger Reeza Refaideen to score by the corner and Ratwatte made good a conversion from a difficult angle. CR led 30-29 to unwind the nerves of players as well as the spectators. CR were penalised a bit later. The kick by Perera from 30 metres went awry but in the 35th minute he kicked a penalty correct for a high tackle from 50 metres out to give back Havelocks the lead 32-30. As the battle intensified CR prop Kokila Sambandapperuma was shown the yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Havies kicker Perera put over the penalty and the final whistle was blown signaling a win for Havelocks by 35-30. With one more week and a game against unbeaten Kandy next week the Park Club kept their title chances alive.

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India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test Day 1 at New Delhi: Hosts end 371/4; Virat Kohli unbeaten on 156

Posted on 02 December 2017 by admin

India 371 for 4 (Kohli 156*, Vijay 155, Sandakan 2-110) v Sri Lanka.

Virat Kohli

In deference to the Indian team management's wishes, there was grass on the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch, but Virat Kohli, at the toss, wished there could have been more. It certainly wasn't enough to turn New Delhi into Newlands, and India, instead of fighting for survival against snarling South African fast bowlers, settled into a typically subcontinental bat-first, bat-big pattern against a limited Sri Lanka attack, facing more spin (59 overs) than seam (31) on day one.

For most of the day, Sri Lanka had nothing to cheer as M Vijay and Virat Kohli added 283 for the third wicket, their partnership an exhibition of relentless self-control and a hunger for runs that never tipped over into greed. India rattled along at more than four an over, and as the shadows lengthened, it seemed as if India would end the day only two down.

But wristspin can do strange things, and Lakshan Sandakan, whose figures at that point read 20.5-0-109-0, sent down a deliciously-flighted wrong'un, slanting it across Vijay and asking him to reach out to drive. He didn't pick the direction of turn, groped for the ball, and missed, dragging his back foot out of the crease in the process. Niroshan Dickwella, quick and nimble, did the rest.

In his next over, Sandakan repeated the trick against Ajinkya Rahane. The line was a little wider this time, but again the ball landed on that perfect length, broke in the direction the batsman did not anticipate, and again Dickwella removed the bails with the batsman's toe on the line. India had gone from 361 for 2 to 365 for 4. Sandakan, whose bowling until that point had made Sri Lanka yearn for the control of the absent Rangana Herath, was now doing what he had been picked to do.

Still, this was India's day. At stumps, Kohli was batting on 156, his third hundred in a row and the quickest – he only took 110 balls to reach three figures – of his 20 in Tests. In the process, he also became the fourth-quickest Indian batsman to 5000 Test runs, getting there in his 105th innings.

Until the moment of Sandakan's transformation, Vijay and Kohli had looked utterly secure. Aside from a couple of clearly not-out lbw shouts, their dominance had gone unchallenged, and, in an indictment of the two specialist spinners, the one bowler who had come remotely close to creating chances was the part-time offspinner Dhananjaya de Silva.

On 122, Vijay drove early and sent the ball looping towards midwicket rather than the intended direction of cover; it fell just short of the diving Dinesh Chandimal. Then, on 154, he sent an uppish flick in the same direction. This time it eluded the fingertips of the debutant Roshen Silva. In between, de Silva also found Kohli's leading edge, which fell between the bowler and mid-off.

Bowling exclusively from around the wicket, de Silva ended the day with figures of 0 for 45 in 15 overs. Sandakan and Dilruwan Perera finished with a combined 3 for 207 from 44 overs.

The foundation of Kohli's innings was his supreme reading of the spinners' length, and thereafter his footwork to pounce on marginal lapses. Before lunch, for instance, he took a massive stride out to a good-length ball from Lakshan Sandakan and bisected wide mid-on and deep midwicket with a whip of his wrists. On 68, he went the other way, deep into his crease, to shorten the length of an otherwise decent Dilruwan Perera delivery and bring his wrists into play once more to find the gap between short fine leg and deep square leg.

For the quicker bowlers, a "good" length was a fairly small area on this pitch. When they strayed remotely off that area, Kohli and Vijay were quick to put the ball away. Vijay gave a good demonstration of this with a pair of boundaries in the 23rd over, off Lahiru Gamage: a cover drive, followed by a wristy on-drive, both off balls that were far from half-volleys. Kohli, meanwhile, raced from 43 to 55 courtesy three fours off one Gamage over, the pick of them an on-the-up drive through the covers.

Vijay went to tea on 101, and resumed with a flurry of attractive boundaries – an inside-out cover drive off Dilruwan, a square-drive off Gamage, a reverse-paddle off Dilruwan. He would only hit one more four after that, though, as he took the singles on offer and made sure he would do everything in his power to keep his quest for that long-yearned-for maiden double-hundred alive. This time, it would really take a good ball to get him out.

This hadn't been true of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara, who both got off to breezy starts before falling against the run of play.

Once it became clear there was little help in this pitch for the quicks, Dhawan and Vijay were quickly on their way, driving freely on the up and hitting eight fours in the first ten overs. Sri Lanka brought on spin as early as the eighth over, and Dilruwan continued to worry his team with his inconsistent lengths, Dhawan picking up two fours behind point in his first two overs. But he grew a little greedy, and picked out deep square leg with a top-edged sweep on 23. Suranga Lakmal briefly lost the ball in the hazy atmosphere, and lost a shoe while hurriedly changing direction, but managed to hold on.

It was Dilruwan's 100th Test wicket. He might not be the most frugal of spinners, but he has the knack of taking wickets – his 100th had come up in his 25th Test, and no Sri Lankan had got there quicker. Muttiah Muralitharan had taken 27 Tests.

In walked Pujara, whose last four partnerships with Vijay read 107, 178, 102 and 209. They seemed to be continuing from where they left off in Nagpur, while scoring twice as quickly, and Pujara in particular was putting the bowlers through the shredder, hitting four fours in the space of three overs, including two back-foot whips off marginally short balls from Dilruwan. But this time, the partnership would only get as far as 36.

Lahiru Gamage broke it, Sri Lanka profiting from the same plan that had brought them Pujara's wicket in the second innings in Galle in late July. Then, he had flicked a full ball from Lahiru Kumara to leg gully. Now, he tucked one off his legs in the same direction, just uppishly enough for Sadeera Samarawickrama to take a sharp catch falling to his left.

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India records huge innings and 239 run win in 2nd Test against Sri Lanka – Ashwin excels

Posted on 27 November 2017 by admin

India crushed Sri Lanka in 49.3 overs to record a huge win the 2nd Test at Nagpur. Ravichandran Ashwin became the fastest bowler in Test history to take 300 wickets to help India take a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka. The game was over in four days with little resistance from the visitors. 

India had batted Sri Lanka out of the Nagpur Test with three of their batsmen scoring centuries but Sri Lanka were expected to give a sterner challenge to India than they did on the fourth day of the second Test. They crumbled and lost seven wickets in the first session, staring at their biggest defeat in Test cricket. That humiliation was completed when R Ashwin took his 300th Test wicket and Sri Lanka’s last of the second innings to complete India’s joint biggest Test win by an innings and 239 runs on Monday.

India 610 for 6 dec. (Kohli 213, Pujara 143, Vijay 128, Rohit 102*) beat Sri Lanka 205 (Chandimal 57, Karunaratne 51, Ashwin 4-67, Ishant 3-37, Jadeja 3-56) and 166 (Chandimal 61, Ashwin 4-63) by an innings and 239 runs.

India are yet to lose a Test series under Virat Kohli and they would like to continue this trend in South Africa, the first of many overseas tour for India next year. With India’s top two seamers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami rested, this performance against an spineless Sri Lankan batting was still morale boosting.

For Sri Lanka this was their biggest Test defeat and it came in an embarrassing manner with their batsmen throwing away wickets. Beginning the play with 384 runs behind India, Sri Lanka needed to bat out of their skin to save the match but India bowlers were in no mood to return on day five. 

Ravichandran Ashwin scalped Lahiru Gamage to reach this milestone in the Nagpur Test against Sri Lanka

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 300 wickets in 54 Tests breaking Dennis Lillee's record. Dennis Lillee took 56 matches to reach the milestone. During the second Test against Sri Lanka,  Ravichandran Ashwin scalped the wicket of Lahiru Gamage to reach the milestone. In all, he took eight wickets in the match. In his 54 matches, he has given away 7520 runs with 7 for 59 being his best. His average is stupendous at 25.30 in 53 Tests. Lillee, one of the greatest fast bowlers, reached the landmark in 1981 against Pakistan in Brisbane. Sri Lanka offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan is now third, getting there in 58 Tests. Murali is the leading wicket-taker in Tests with 800 wickets.

By the time the first session ended, India were on verge of the win and the only thing Sri Lanka could have done was to avoid their biggest loss in Test cricket which was an innings and 229 runs before Monday.

The visitors had more-or-less lost the game on the first day itself after being bowled out for 208 as Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja caught them in a spin web. The same happened on day four as Jadeja began with the wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne to a freakish catch at short leg by Murali Vijay.

Lahiru Thirimanne was the next to fall as he played a wide delivery from Umesh straight to point and then Sri Lanka’s most experienced batsman Angelo Mathews fell for the flight from Jadeja, lobbing it to mid-off. 

Dasun Shanaka tried some big shots and connected a few but one such shot, off Ashwin, was skied and KL Rahul took a good catch. That was the beginning to Ashwin’s mastery on day four. He removed Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath in the space of three balls and with just two more wickets to go, play was extended by 15 minutes before Lunch.

But Sri Lanka went into the break 260 runs behind with two wickets in hand. India had bowled well throughout and were now being rewarded for it. Ishant Sharmaset up the dismissal of Niroshan Dickwella. He bowled short-pitched deliveries and got reverse-swing to confuse the batsmen before bowling a suprise length delivery. Dickwella edged one such delivery to slips.

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1st TEST DRAWN – rain and bad light a spoiler at Eden Gardens

Posted on 20 November 2017 by admin

Sri Lanka 294 (Herath 67, Mathews 52, Thirimanne 51, Bhuvneshwar 4-88, Shami 4-100) and 75 for 7 (Bhuvneshwar 4-8) drew with India 172 (Pujara 52, Lakmal 4-26) and 352 for 8 dec. (Kohli 104*, Dhawan 94, Rahul 79, Shanaka 3-76, Lakmal 3-93).

  IT IS A DRAW! A brilliant last session, but light saves the day for the Sri Lankans. Virat Kohli and boys manage to pick 7 wickets and the Lankans manage to stay afloat with 3 wickets in the bag. Sri Lanka ends on 75/7 as the umpires shake hands. HUNDRED NO.18 FOR KOHLI! Brings it up in style with a six over the covers. And the usual pump of the fist and the celebration. India also declare the innings at 352/8 and the Lankans now need 231 to win this game. This could be a good final few hours in the first Test. Kohli finishes unbeaten on 104.

 

Virat Kohli's 50th international century set up a fascinating conclusion to the Kolkata Test, helping India declare at 352 for 8, setting Sri Lanka 231 to win at Eden Gardens. India's seamers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, then found conventional seam movement and reverse swing to leave Sri Lanka's middle order battling for survival in rapidly-fading light in a dramatic fifth-day finish. Somehow, Sri Lanka huffed and puffed and prevented India from blowing their house down, with three wickets in hand.

After hours lost to rain over the first two days, the match came down to the final few minutes, with Shami and Bhuvneshwar hurrying back to their mark and Sri Lanka delaying the game to force a draw. Eventually, the light was deemed unfit at 4.28pm local, around the same time play was called off on the fourth day.

BHUVNESHWAR KUMAR is the Man of the Match. He says that as the surface was drier, it was difficult to bowl in the second innings than the first. There was reverse swing available, he states. On changing from being just a swing bowler to having those extra yards of pace, he opines that he always wanted to improve on that. Ends saying that the mindset was that of playing in overseas conditions and hence they could never afford to relax.

VIRAT KOHLI states that it was important to make a game of this in whatever time was available. Opines that although the conditions changed drastically after the first couple of days, it was important for them to not let the opposition get far ahead in the game. Towards the end, he says that more on Sri Lanka's batting collapses, he relied on his teams strengths as given the position that the opposition were in, mistakes from the batsmen would have been hard to come. Bowling in the right areas was the aim, he further states. About Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he says that with his abilities, he could be a regular starter in the coming games as he bowls in the right areas at a good pace. States that after Saha departed, he and Bhuvi decided to have some fun. The new ball made it easier to score runs quickly and with a positive intent, lucked too favoured them. Although it feels good to score 50 international tons even though the journey hasn't been a long one, he ends saying that his mindset isn't about personal milestones but to help his side win.

DINESH CHANDIMAL says that winning the toss helps in such conditions. States that they fought and played well till the very end as a team. He is happy as they competed well. States that Lakmal has been doing well for them in the past couple of years and is trustworthy at any point of time. Feels great for Herath who scored his third Test fifty although there was very little for him to do with the ball. Reckons that even in the series against Pakistan, batting in the second innings was the key and his side needs to learn how to do so and that is the key going forward.

 

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India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Day 4, Kolkata, full cricket score: IND 171/1 at stumps, lead by 49 runs

Posted on 19 November 2017 by admin

 

India were 171/1, leading Sri Lanka by 49 runs on the fourth day of the rain-hit opening Test in Kolkata on Sunday. Openers KL Rahul (73*) and Shikhar Dhawan (94) started strongly after the hosts conceded a 122-run first innings lead following Sri Lanka’s 294. Get India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Day 4, Kolkata full cricket score here.

India 171 for 1 (Dhawan 94, Rahul 73*) and 172 lead Sri Lanka 294 (Herath 67, Bhuvneshwar 4-88, Shami 4-100) by 49 runs.

Shikhar Dhawan (94) and KL Rahul (73*) restored India’s dominance with fifties as the hosts erased a 122-run lead to nose ahead in the opening Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday. Taking advantage of the improved conditions, Dhawan and Rahul put on a 166-run partnership which put India ahead by 49 runs at the end of the fourth day’s play. Earlier, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 294. 

KL Rahul reached his 10th Test half-century with a push to square-leg off Dilruwan Perera having got to 49 with a lemon cut off Suranga Lakmal in the second over after tea on the fourth day of first Test. He had hit Lakmal for a four earlier in that over too. Rahul got to his milestone in 65 balls, 95 minutes and with seven fours. India were 86/0 then in the second innings. (India vs Sri Lanka Day 4 Highlights)

Rahul began with aplomb hitting three fours off Lahiru Gamage’s first over. Dismissed off the first ball of this Test, Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan stripped off the tooth and claws from this Sri Lanka attack.

Niroshan Dickwella and Chandimal began the fourth morning under sunny skies by counterattacking India's seamers. But like Sadeera Samarawickrama found out on the third day, hitting through the line can be fraught with risk against the moving ball because it threatens both edges. Their approach worked for the first half hour, taking Sri Lanka to 200, a handy lead of 28, but just when it seemed like Sri Lanka wrested control, India hit back. Sri Lanka's middle order tried to make contact with the ball, as opposed to allowing themselves to be beaten by playing the line. It was a ploy to move the Test along, and on a seaming surface like this, it wasn't a bad one.

Dickwella had punched, cut and pulled merrily, but was also beaten repeatedly. Shami got one to seam in from his around-the-wicket angle, then bounce and jag away – enough to find the outside edge, but not exaggerated movement to beat the edge.

Bhuvneshwar, in the next over, set up Dasun Shanaka with an outswinger well outside off. He started the next ball on a similar line, but it hooped back prodigiously to hit Shanaka, offering no shot with an intent to leave as many as he could, on the back pad. Only James Anderson is more adept at using this tactic with the swinging ball in Tests currently.

Five balls later, Chandimal was caught fishing outside his off stump against Shami. Again, the ball did just enough to find the outside edge. Suddenly, Sri Lanka had slipped to 201 for 7.

It got worse for Sri Lanka when Dilruwan Perera was given out lbw off a sharp inducker from Shami that beat his inside edge. Dilruwan, it appeared, accepted the decision and turned around to walk towards the dressing room, but asked for a review moments later. Replays showed the ball hit Dilruwan outside the line of off stump.

Herath was particularly effective with cross-batted strokes on either side of the wicket. He would frequently perch on the back foot, and depending on the line, either cut through point or pull past midwicket. Considering deliveries on a good or short length were routinely beating him with a straight bat, it was a rewarding strategy. He had moved to 67 before slicing a catch to deep backward point off Bhuvneshwar.

 

1st TEST – Day-3: Sri Lanka fights back with Thirimanne & Mathews

Sri Lanka well placed to take first-innings lead

3:00 AM ET

  • Courtesy of The Report by Nikhil Kalro – ESPN News (CricInfo).

Stumps Sri Lanka 165 for 4 (Mathews 52, Thirimanne 51, Dickwella 14*, Chandimal 13*) trail India 172 (Pujara 52, Lakmal 4-26) by 7 runs.

 

Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews compiled contrasting fifties and shared a 99-run partnership that put Sri Lanka in the ascendancy of the Kolkata Test, cutting their deficit to just 7 by stumps on the third day. They were united with the score on 34 for 2 but neither batsman chose to counterattack considering the plausibility of one delivery beating their defenses. They left well and allowed themselves to be beaten several times by playing the line, not pushing their hands too far in front of them. Soon, India's seamers erred, looking for more than was required, with half-volleys and short and wide offerings and the boundaries flowed.

Just like for Sri Lanka, India's seamers generated lateral movement from the outset. Bhuvneshwar Kumar produced swing both ways, while Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav used seam off the pitch.

Despite sufficient movement, Sadeera Samarawickrama, promoted to open, batted fluently. Displaying a compact technique and languid elegance, he struck three fours on either side of the wicket in his 23. But continuing to hit through the line with the ball hooping just enough was an approach fraught with risk. Bhuvneshwar duly found his outside edge as he played away from his body.

Thirimanne and Mathews then swung the game in Sri Lanka's favour. Still on this surface, they needed luck. Bhuvneshwar kept penetrating Mathews' inside edge, hitting him on both pads. A shorter length, though, meant he survived lbw shouts due to the extra bounce. Umesh even found Thirimanne's outside edge, but Shikhar Dhawan spilled a simple catch at first slip.

Just after tea though, Umesh found not only his rhythm, but pace too. An inswinger from around the wicket held its line, found Thirimanne's outside edge and carried low to Virat Kohli's left at second slip, who hung onto a sharp chance. Then, Mathews lost his concentration. He chipped a catch to cover, his balance thrown off completely by a transfer of weight on the back foot, anticipating a shorter length.

With the light fading and the ball continuing to move, Dinesh Chandimal was repeatedly beaten on both edges during his 33-ball scrap. His battle was temporarily halted shortly after 4pm local when bad light forced early stumps for the third straight day.

It was Sri Lanka's seamers that had earlier given the visitors a chance. Without any cloud cover, swing ceased. But on a grassy pitch, Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal used the prevailing seaming conditions to bowl India out for 172 by lunch. Dilruwan Perera chipped in with a double-wicket over to remove Ravindra Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha, India's only set batsmen on the third day.

Resuming on 47, Cheteshwar Pujara swept a wayward delivery from Rangana Herath to move to one of his toughest Test fifties at home. The sun came out soon after, and India's overall outlook seemed brighter.

That was when Pujara erred for the first time this Test, mentally more than in technique. Overhead conditions had improved drastically, but underfoot it remained treacherous. Pujara poked at a full delivery from Gamage, with bat away from pad as opposed to his bat-close-to-body approach over the first two days, possibly aware that swing had ceased. It created a big bat-pad gap. The ball jagged back prodigiously after pitching and uprooted off stump.

 

Saha, at the other end, displayed terrific awareness of which deliveries to play. He routinely let full, wide balls go, but went after fuller, wider deliveries, hitting six fours in his 29. Along with Jadeja, who also picked only either full or wide deliveries to attack, carried India past 100, their first landmark of the day in a 48-run stand, the highest of the innings.

Dilruwan, introduced in the 44th over, began with non-turning offbreaks on a grassy pitch. He quickly adjusted, under-cutting his offbreaks to generate drift, not spin, to open up the outside edge.

He was successful immediately. He had Jadeja lbw to a ball that slid on to strike his pad before bat. Umpire Joel Wilson's not-out verdict was overturned on review. Three balls later, Saha top-edged an attempted sweep onto his forearm, which lobbed to slip.

India's tail swung freely, carrying them from 128 for 8 to 172, but as Sri Lanka's middle order showed, it may be under-par.

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1st Test, India v Sri Lanka: Day-2 washed out by rain – India struggle 74/5 at close

Posted on 17 November 2017 by admin

India wobble against seam before rain washes out second day.

Stumps India 74 for 5 (Pujara 47*, Saha 6*, Lakmal 3-5, Shanaka 2-23) v Sri Lanka

Heavy rain yet again played spoilsport as Day 2 of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka was called off early at the Eden Gardens. The first day saw India reeling at 17/3 at stumps.

Day 2 was no better for the hosts as the Lankans remained on top. Barring Cheteshwar Pujara's gritty 47, Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin fell cheaply as India could only reach 74 for 5 when play had to be abandoned after just a couple of hours of match action. Dasun Shanaka took both the wickets of Rahane and Ashwin. The pitch also favoured the bowlers as the visitors focused on their line and length giving no chance to the Indian batsmen to score runs. Pujara is nearing a half-century and he will have to bat well if India are to stay in the game.1st Test, India v Sri Lanka: Suranga Lakmal stars on rain-curtailed day. 

Persistent rain dominated another day in Kolkata, allowing just 21 overs on the second morning. In all, just 32.5 overs have been bowled over two days. Sri Lanka's seamers had earlier capitalised on a dry, bowling-friendly morning at Eden Gardens, as Dasun Shanaka picked up two wickets with his gentle medium pace under gloomy skies offering sufficient lateral movement. Cheteshwar Pujara displayed impeccable defensive technique again, picking only the errant deliveries to score during his unbeaten 47, carrying India to 74 for 5 before a drizzle that became gradually heavier at 11.00 am forced an early lunch.

The rain had relented for a short period around noon, but returned heavier and forced the officials to call off the second day at 2.30pm local, more than two hours before the scheduled close of play.

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Nov 16, 2017.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Due to rain and bad light, just 11.5 overs were possible on the opening day
  • Suranga Lakmal wreaked havoc, picking three wickets in six overs – all maiden
  • Play was called off early due to bad light

NEW DELHI: Seldom there are conditions and surfaces on offer in India which are pacer friendly and a batsman's worst nightmare. Eden Gardens dished out just the kind of track for the first Test of a three-match series between India and Sri Lanka that would have left a fast bowler licking his fingers. Alas, the weather gods weren't so kind as the opening day of the Test petered out to a sorry 71-ball affair. Out of the 11.5 overs bowled on Day 1, Suranga Lakmal bowled six – all maiden and for three wickets, leaving India tottering at 17/3 when bad light stopped the play.

The toss was delayed by four hours due to light drizzle and then Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal called it correctly, opting to bowl first. Just as when the play was about to get underway, the rain returned with the players walking back. When it recommenced, Lakmal gave the hosts an early jolt with a ripper off a delivery that kissed the edge of KL Rahul's bat and settled nicely in to the hands of the 'keeper. India had lost their opener for a first-ball duck.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Due to rain and bad light, just 11.5 overs were possible on the opening day
  • Suranga Lakmal wreaked havoc, picking three wickets in six overs – all maiden
  • Play was called off early due to bad light

NEW DELHI: Seldom there are conditions and surfaces on offer in India which are pacer friendly and a batsman's worst nightmare. Eden Gardens dished out just the kind of track for the first Test of a three-match series between India and Sri Lanka that would have left a fast bowler licking his fingers. Alas, the weather gods weren't so kind as the opening day of the Test petered out to a sorry 71-ball affair.

Out of the 11.5 overs bowled on Day 1, Suranga Lakmal bowled six – all maiden and for three wickets, leaving India tottering at 17/3 when bad light stopped the play.

The toss was delayed by four hours due to light drizzle and then Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal called it correctly, opting to bowl first. Just as when the play was about to get underway, the rain returned with the players walking back. When it recommenced, Lakmal gave the hosts an early jolt with a ripper off a delivery that kissed the edge of KL Rahul's bat and settled nicely in to the hands of the 'keeper. India had lost their opener for a first-ball duck.

The ball was doing the tricks – prodigious swing and bounce – a phenomenon almost alien to the subcontinent conditions. But it was the reality and after Shikhar Dhawan seemed to settle the nerves with a boundary, Lakmal struck again – an inside edge crashing on the stumps. He scored eight. Out came Virat Kohli and his stay lasted 11 deliveries before the man of the moment Lakmal, spitting venom, catching the India captain right in front of the wickets. Even the DRS couldn't help Kohli who also settled inside the dressing room without disturbing the score.

Cheteshwar Pujara (8*) missed a full delivery from Lahiru Gamage before signalling that he could not spot the ball. It was then that the umpire took out the light meter and the players walked back to the dressing room. The match was again stopped due to bad light and this time for good.

TOP COMMENT

 

It will be an early start of the play on Day 2.

Brief Scores: India 17/3 (Cheteshwar Pujara 8*, Suranga Lakmal 3/0) vs Sri Lanka

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Time for Mathews to put past troubles behind him

Posted on 14 November 2017 by admin

  • Karthik Krishnaswamy in Kolkata – Courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo.

Angelo Mathews

It has been four months since Angelo Mathews stepped down from the role, but it's hard not to look at him with the feeling in the back of your mind that you're watching Sri Lanka's captain do his thing. There's Sri Lanka's captain, pulling an underarm throw-down (flick-up?) from a crouched member of the support staff. Here he is now, in the nets, defending off the back foot, looking like a captain, looking burdened by everything that ails Sri Lankan cricket.

It's all in your head, of course, the transposition of a careworn expression onto a helmeted face that's at least 60 yards from you and facing the wrong way. But it comes from having watched him all these years: the shuffle across to off stump, the stoic face behind the sunglasses while setting fields, the guarded post-match interviews.

This feeling is also born of not having watched too much of Mathews since he gave up the captaincy. He has been out of action for the last few months, and has only just recovered from his umpteenth injury of the last couple of years.

This tour of India, then, comes at an important juncture in his career. He seems to have been around forever, but he's only 30, a year and four days older than Ajinkya Rahane. The early 30s are widely reckoned to be the best time in a batsman's life, and it's the perfect time for Mathews to put behind him the turmoil of his last few months of captaincy, and focus anew on becoming the best batsman he can be and the towering batsman he hasn't been for a while. He hasn't made a Test hundred since August 2015, and in that time has scored 917 runs in 32 innings at an average of 28.65. His average, in that time, has slipped from 52.06 to 44.93.

The dip in Mathews' run-making powers has coincided with his becoming the senior-most member of Sri Lanka's batting group: he scored his last hundred in the first Test after Kumar Sangakkara's retirement.

Which is all the more reason why the Tests against India are so important to Mathews. He's one of only two survivors from Sri Lanka's last proper visit (Rangana Herath is the other), and on that 2009 tour he was a 22-year-old with four Tests behind him. In those early years, he batted at No. 6, impressing by dint of his own class but also benefiting from the cushion of the runs scored by Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera batting above and alongside him.

There are some good young batsmen in Sri Lanka's squad on this tour – and at least three outside it, in Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne and Kusal Perera – but they haven't quite grown up with the same cushion. But they aren't too far from having a solid core of experienced batsmen to bat around. Dimuth Karunaratne has had a breakthrough year as a Test batsman, and together with Dinesh Chandimal built the batting foundations of Sri Lanka's 2-0 series win in the UAE a few weeks ago. Add a fully fit, fully firing, post-captaincy and non-careworn Mathews to that mix, and Sri Lanka suddenly look like a pretty handy batting side. Make it happen, Angelo.

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SRI LANKA STILL LOOKING FOR ELUSIVE TEST WIN IN INDIA

Posted on 12 November 2017 by admin

 

12 November, 2017.

by Ranjan Anandappa – Courtesy: Sunday Observer.

Michael Tissera and Nawab of Pataudi

Michael Tissera (left) and Nawab of Pataudi during the toss at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahemadabad.

Sri Lanka who are looking for that elusive Test win in India, which they have never achieved since gaining full Test status in 1981 will have to undergo very stiff opposition against Virat Kohli and & C0. in all three formats of the game in the current series between the two countries.

It is certain that the Lankans will come across a gigantic task to avoid another ‘whitewash’ a familiar term these days with Sri Lanka’s dismal performances although winning a Test series against Pakistan in the UAE recently.

Sri Lanka has never beaten India in a Test match on Indian soil, the only occasion they did was in 1965 ,52 years hence when Micheal Tissera led a side and beat a fully fledged Indian team led by Mansur Ali Khan (Nawab Of Pattaudi) by 4 wickets in a three Test unofficial series.

It was Tissera’s astute leadership that gave this empathic victory in a low scoring four day game match effected by rain.

The first day was completely washed out by rain and the the second day began around 3.30pm at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad and the Indian captain Nawab Of Pataudi winning the toss elected to bat first surprising everyone on a rain effected wicket and were 51 for 3 after ninety minutes of batting.

On the third day India were restricted to 189 due to some fine fast bowling by Norton Frederick ( 4 for 85) and the off cutters by Stanley Jayasinghe (6 for 38 ) who broke the backbone of the Indian batting. Only Ramesh Saxena 63 n.o and skipper Pataudi 28 and Hanumant Singh 30 did something noteworthy while batting for India.

India hit back strongly through their pace bowlers during Ceylon’s first innings. Umesh Kulkarni ( 4 for 43) and C.K.Bhaskar ( 2 for 35) sent the bulk of the Ceylon batting reeling (6 for 57). But skipper Michael Tissera (28) , Dr. H.I.K.Fernando 38 n.o) and Anurudha Polonowita (53) stood firm bringing the score to 144 for 7 before Tissera closed the Ceylon Innings with a deficit of 45 runs. A shrewed move on a drying pitch. Indian batsmen were all at sea as the Ceylon bowlers stuck to their job admirably reducing India to 66 all out. Norton Fredrick , Stanley Jayasinghe the Leicestershire professional and Anurudha Plonowita took three wickets apiece with only two Indian batsmen entering double figures.

Ceylon was left to get 112 runs to win with ample time left. Abu Fuard and Mano Ponniah gave a reasonable start putting on 41 runs for the first wicket before Ponniah was stumped by Farookh Engineer off Venkatraghavan for 22.

Then a middle order collapse saw Ceylon losing five wickets for 98 runs with left arm leg spinner Rajinder Goel claiming the wickets of Abu Fuard, Jayasinghe, Neil Chanmugam, and wicket keeper H.I.K.Fernando with the score at 6 for 98. But sensible batting by Michael Tissera and Polonowita gave Ceylon their first ever win against India in India. The official Test series between India and Sri Lanka began in 1982/83 with a one off Test at Chepauk Stadium, Madras which ended in an exciting draw ,the sides were captained by Bandula Warnapura and Sunil Gavaskar. Sri Lanka last toured India in 2009 and lost the three Test series 0-2. In 1985 Sri Lanka beat India in Colombo under Duleep Mendis while Kapil Dev was the Indian captain. The countries have met in 40 Test matches and India has won 16 to Sri Lanka’s 5. 

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