Partners in victory
The crucial wicket of Sanath Jayasuriya, against the run of play, might have convinced the Indians that they had the match under control. Not so, it turned out, as Mahela Jayawardene and Russel Arnold combined magnificently in a 125-run stand that snatched back the initiative and put India firmly on the defensive. The reason the partnership was so effective was because both batsmen looked to score off every ball, ran hard, and didn't rely on the boundaries to get their runs. Out of the 125 runs, only for 32 of them did the batsmen not have to run, which means almost 75% of the stand was built in singles, twos and threes. And of the 117 balls they played, only 40 didn't add to the run tally.
The two batsmen also paced their partnership superbly - the first 31 runs took 39 balls, but from there on, they scored at faster than a run a ball, with the last 33 taking only 24. Jayawardene's first 18 runs took all of 39 balls, but by the time he was done, his strike-rate looked perfectly respectable - 83 off 97 balls.
|The Jayawardene-Arnold stand||Runs||Balls|
The Indians seemed to have a similar partnership going when Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh were going strong, but unlike in the Sri Lankan case, the Indian pair never dominated the bowling - their 84 runs took as many as 118 balls, and while it meant the team had a sound foundation, that didn't translate into a final surge which would have given the Indians victory.