Sri Lanka v India, 2nd ODI, Hambantota July 24, 2012

Perera, Mathews humble India


Sri Lanka 139 for 1 (Tharanga 59*, Dilshan 50) beat India 138 (Gambhir 65, Perera 3-19, Mathews 3-14) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

For the first three overs on a blustery afternoon in Hambantota, Sri Lanka looked thrown. Running in through strong winds, their opening bowlers found rhythm elusive and lines hard to control. Lasith Malinga got no movement; the debutant Isuru Udana's first over comprised 11 balls and contained 16 runs; there were careless overthrows and misfields; and India scored 31 for 0 with barely a risk. And then Thisara Perera, in the midst of his best home summer, changed everything and turned Sri Lanka's quest to draw level in the series into a cruise.

Perera made the ball swing in the air and seam off the surface. He did not bowl grenades, but he did not need to. Against accurate lengths and stingy lines, India's batsmen weren't far from playing an impatient shot. Perera took a wicket in each of his first three overs without conceding a run, and he could have had a fourth had Angelo Mathews not dropped MS Dhoni at first slip. His spell of 3-3-0-3 left India on 41 for 4 after eight overs, a slide that did not subside.

As India collapsed like an undercooked cake at one end, Gautam Gambhir held the other up. He'd begun with a crisp square drive and a flick off the pads as early as Malinga's second over, but his steadiness was swamped by the ineptness of his team-mates. He nearly became the first India player to carry his bat in a one-day international but was the last man out, for 65.

Having dismissed India for 138 in the 34th over, Sri Lanka had nine overs to bat before the dinner break. The wind was still blowing in Hambantota, and Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan capitalised on several loose deliveries to score 64 before the interval. The remaining 75 was added without much alarm as well, though Dilshan's dismissal prevented Sri Lanka from achieving their first ten-wicket victory against India in ODIs.

The momentum shift after Dhoni won his second toss in two games, and chose to bat in favourable conditions, had been sudden. It occurred when Perera lunged to his right, throwing his large frame against the momentum of his follow through, to catch with both hands a loose push from Virender Sehwag. In his second over, Perera got rid of the bogeyman by inducing a thick edge from Virat Kohli, who had hundreds in his previous three innings against Sri Lanka. He made 1 today after failing to execute a steer to third man.

Perera hurt India further in his third over. Suresh Raina hung his bat outside off stump, reaching for the ball angling across him without fluent footwork, and played on. A ball later, he found another edge, off Dhoni's bat, but it was put down at first slip.

Mathews, who had extended Rohit Sharma's wretched run by bowling him off the inside edge for a duck, soon made amends for his gaffe. He got the ball to bounce off a good length, cramp Dhoni for room on the cut and take the edge to Sangakkara. Between those edges, Dhoni had played two fluent off drives against Perera for boundaries.

After Irfan Pathan holed out to Perera at mid-off, Gambhir and R Ashwin put on 28 for the seventh wicket before a comical run-out ended the partnership. Having cut the ball towards third man, Ashwin wanted a third but was sent back. His turning radius was so large and his movement so slow that he failed to cover the short distance even though he dived. Gambhir looked on in despair. Sri Lanka ended the India innings well before dinner; the only pity was there were so few people to watch their clinical performance.

The crowd was bigger when Sri Lanka began their chase and the sound of celebratory trumpets was ever-present. The hosts could have lost Dilshan on 1 but Sehwag grassed the edge off the attempted booming drive against Irfan. India barely had another opportunity. Dilshan scored at more than a run-a-ball despite hitting only four boundaries. Tharanga, in contrast, hit fours more frequently, freeing his arms to play the drive and the cut when given room outside off stump.

Both India's left-arm bowlers - Zaheer Khan and Irfan - bowled wayward lines in the wind. Between them, they conceded 14 runs through wides. There were 24 extras in all. India were a beaten side before the dinner break and Dilshan flicked the first ball after resumption to the midwicket boundary, continuing Sri Lanka's inexorable march towards victory, which was achieved with 30.1 overs to spare.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 27, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    HA HA India lost badly to Sri Lanka :)

  • Ashok on July 26, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    @praveen4honestremarks:Don't blame ZAK alone for the Indian teams' humiliating defeat in the ODI #2.It was a collective failure of both batsmen & bowlers.How can Indian batting go down like nine pins to almost the same bowlers - Pererra & Mathews - who were thrashed for 7 & 6 runs/over in ODI #1 on the same ground? Indian bowling was always weak because Dhoni does not pay much attention to his bowlers. If a guy does not bowl to a controlled length & direction, either discipline him by dropping from the XI or send him back & get a replacement. Yadev gives 10% of Indian total in his very first over - How irresponsible is that after making Perrera's bowling look unplayable? Only Ashwin looked like an ODI bowler. ZAK, Irfan, Ojha & Yadev failed collectively. You cannot win or even put up a half decent show with such undisciplined bowling. The same goes for batting. Dhoni & Irfan(#6 &7) played careless shots instead of staying at the crease & helping well set Gambhir attack. Discipline??

  • Praveen on July 26, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    Dean jones in his words said about Indian bowling as very weak and need to improve even before it becomes laughing stolk. Read Duncan as a coach should have guide Dhoni to start thinking of possible replacement for Zaheer. But where is it?? What was report given by him to BCCI after failures in bowling department??? Why unfit Zaheer still playing???? What is India future in bowling?? Can't Dhoni, Duncan , Selectors ever watch Ranji matches, and won't they find any bowlers who can be taken and groomed as replacement of Zaheer?? Aakash chopra in his article in espn cricinfo also mentioned possible replacements. Read article (here. mentions Parwinder Awana a swing bowler as handy. Pankaj singh, leading wicket taker for Rajastan in Ranji. Harsh patel a bright prospect. Do Dhoni and co ever care to try them???

  • Sinha on July 26, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Where was that joker who said he was bored of India "thrashing" SL all the time? Tell him I said lol.

  • Praveen on July 26, 2012, 1:33 GMT

    Duncan Fletcher , Indian chief coach was appointed in 27th April 2011 , a contract for 2 years. Duncan when has taken charges from Kirsten , the Indian team just had won World cup. He took charges but never able to extend the Kirsten work. Duncan didn't find our fast bowling weak; or had he even cared to look at that?? Zaheer, Ishant and Yadav taken for England and Australia. There Ishant failed and Zaheer broke even before matches start. Yadav was little hope in tests for India. He can bowl in Indian pitches and overseas. Need fine tuning though. Ishant still can come back, he is also future prospect. But where does Zaheer stand?? Is he really a bowler for tests ? or only ODI's? or for just Indian pitches? Zaheer first of all is unfit player. He is proving this time and again. First during England tour and now in Srilanka tour. Dhoni saying that they need to manage Zaheer's work so he won't break down is enough to understand the status quo of Zaheer.

  • Amal on July 26, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    It is really impressive some fans from both parties starting to think balance and fair manner. People fighting here should understand that these forums are not only read by subcontinent fans, but also by other cricket playing nations. We make ourselves let down as South-Asians in front of this audience with this ugly way of bashing others. I wish these forums become a pleasant place for ALL of us! I hope this be a 3-2 end result, not 4-1, so no one dominates, and eventually helps both teams to assess their weak links.

  • Prashan on July 26, 2012, 0:46 GMT

    @Jindal Priyank, I accept your apologies bro. Its ok. There is this sudden ripple flow on effect of just following your fellow countrymen's bashing comments without thinking twice. Mind you I have also done so and my apologies. Though you may urge calm, how many will heed by your call is unknown. Anyway, I have seen many Indian fans criticize Rohit Sharma. Yes he has failed in the 2 ODIs but dont forget bro that it was because of him that you all won the ODI series against Windies late last year. If not for him, you all may have lost 3-1 in my opinion.

  • Prashan on July 26, 2012, 0:41 GMT

    @serious-am-i, sorry I forgot to say that in my comments. I meant in the recent series of course. Sri Lanka drew 1-1 in the test series in 2006 thanks to Murali.

  • Prashan on July 26, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    @Harmony111, Sri Lanka did beat India this year in Brisbane in the CB series which shows that we have beaten India aready this year. Also, we have beaten India 51 times in ODIs which shows that wins against India in ODIs are not once in a blue moon. Dont write off Sri Lanka please. It will be a closely fought series by all means. I will be there at the R Premadasa Stadium day after tomorrow to witness the action.

  • Rajan on July 25, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    As indian fan im trying to take a positive out of the game for us indians the only one i can think of that dhoni wont get banned for slow over rate

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