ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
India v Sri Lanka, final, World Cup 2011, Mumbai
Advantage Sri Lanka in World Cup match-ups
The seven World Cup matches between India and Sri Lanka have been mostly dramatic, with Sri Lanka having the numerical edge
April 1, 2011
Sri Lanka's victory by 47 runs in this encounter was a milestone in their cricketing history - their first win in a World Cup game. Sri Lanka ran up a competitive total after a delayed start, with the trio of Sidath Wettimuny, Roy Dias and Duleep Mendis making half-centuries. There was also a cameo from the youngest player in the tournament, Sudath Pasqual, which pushed them to 238. In reply, India's top order got starts but the de Silvas - Somachandra and Stanley - nipped out the heart of the batting. From 119 for 2, India crashed to 191 all out to round off a miserable campaign, which ended with no wins. Sri Lanka had qualified for the 1979 event after winning the Associates tournament, and this win over an established nation helped strengthen their case for Test status.
This India-Sri Lanka clash was deemed to be so low-profile by the organisers that it was the only match to be scheduled at Harrup Park in Queensland which had not hosted any internationals previously. Incessant rain meant that only two deliveries were possible before the game was called off, and Harrup Park hasn't hosted any international matches since, making this game something of a familiar name in cricketing quizzes.
Sachin Tendulkar made a run-a-ball 137, which included a volley of sixes towards the end that lifted India to a seemingly sufficient 271. Few Indian fans remember the innings though, and the match sticks in memory far more for Manoj Prabhakar's hapless bowling in what turned out to be his final international match. Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana added to the growing buzz around their opening partnership by bludgeoning 50 by the fifth over, with Prabhakar's medium-pace going for 33 in two overs. Prabhakar, till then a key member of the line-up who opened both the bowling and the batting, was reduced to trying equally ineffective offspin. Sri Lanka cruised to a six-wicket win, with Arjuna Ranatunga and Hashan Tillakaratne playing cool knocks to guide them home.
An erupting Eden Gardens and a tearful Vinod Kambli might be the lasting images of this ill-fated game, but before matters deteriorated to that extent, Sri Lanka had thoroughly outplayed India on a pitch that had become almost unplayable. Stung by a six-wicket defeat to the same opponents earlier in the tournament, India fielded first, but Aravinda de Silva did not let the score of 1 for 2 bother him. The impact of his silken 66 was such that it lifted Sri Lanka to 251. Sachin Tendulkar responded with 65 but his dismissal triggered a dramatic collapse. India plummeted from 98 for 1 to 120 for 8 as the Sri Lankan spinners bowled more than one established batsman behind the legs. Eden Gardens could watch it no longer and flared up in a volley of missiles and bonfires, forcing match referee Clive Lloyd to award the match to Sri Lanka.
Taunton could not quite have been payback for Kolkata, but India nevertheless sent the defending champions out of the tournament with a batting assault that saw them rattle up 373, which was then the highest total against a Test nation. In a year in which he made six of his 12 one-day hundreds, and was involved in both the 300-plus ODI partnerships, Rahul Dravid began uncharacteristically with a flurry of boundaries along with Sourav Ganguly.
Sri Lanka had taken a wicket off the fifth ball of the game; they had to wait another 269 before the second one came, when Dravid was finally run out for 145. Ganguly accelerated with seven sixes to 183, and Sri Lanka were so stunned that they lurched to 216, giving Robin Singh only his second five-wicket haul in 136 games.
It was the match that confirmed India's place in the semi-final, and, in many ways, it was the one that turned hopes of a successful campaign into genuine belief that this was a side that could go all the way. India's bowling had been sensational against England; and against Pakistan, the batting had chased a challenging score. In Johannesburg, they put in the complete performance. Sachin Tendulkar, who had been in commanding form all tournament, scored 97, and contributions from Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly ensured India got 292; all this after Sanath Jayasuriya had oddly chosen to bowl despite Sri Lanka having struggled while chasing, even having lost to Kenya in pursuit of 210. They were done in by a magical spell of 4 for 35 from an older, slower, but considerably craftier Javagal Srinath. There were more strange decisions from Sri Lanka as Jehan Mubarak turned up as a pinch-hitter at No. 3, and they were bowled out for a paltry 109 in 23 overs.
India were dumped out of the World Cup after their 69-run loss in the game, and it was to have severe consequences as interest in the tournament dwindled and the organisers of the current edition plotted to avert a repeat. But this was also a match in which a fresh-looking Sri Lanka gave a glimpse of how impressive they would be through the tournament. It was the young guns who fired, with Upul Tharanga and Chamara Silva getting fifties to take Sri Lanka to 254. India's batting then crumbled to 185 all out under the pressure of an impending exit, a stifling early spell from Chaminda Vaas, and an at-times unplayable Muttiah Muralitharan. The doosras, topspinners, and everything else were on display in Muralitharan's spell of 3 for 41, during which he trapped MS Dhoni so plumb the batsman started walking even before the umpire raised the finger.
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