Sri Lanka v India, Under-19 World Cup Group C February 10, 2006

Fielding lapses cost Sri Lanka dear

India 209 for 6 (Sharma 78) beat Sri Lanka 207 (Mathews 52) by four wickets

India's Mayank Tehlan during his innings of 64 © ICC
Dropped catches, an aspect of their game that Sri Lanka thought was a thing of the past, came back to haunt them in their Under-19 World Cup Group clash with India, as they dropped four ... and lost by as many wickets at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

Sri Lanka were made to pay dearly for their lapses after India had been reduced to 28 for 3 in the sixth over. They recovered through their fourth-wicket pair of Rohit Sharma and Mayank Tehlan, who added 132 from 188 balls to turn the match in their favour.

If Sri Lanka were to defend their moderate total of 207, they needed to capitalise on their opportunities. But Sharma was dropped three times en route to a Man-of-the-Match-winning 78 from 105 balls (six fours, two sixes), and together with Tehlan who made 64 off 114 balls (three fours) they rescued India from their early losses. Tehlan was also let off on 8.

By virtue of losing to India, Sri Lanka finished as runners-up in their group and will come up against the Group B winners, Australia, in their Super League quarter-final game today at the SSC. India meanwhile take on West Indies, who overcame the South Africans by seven wickets.

After winning the toss, Sri Lanka began well despite losing Sameera de Zoysa for a duck in the first over to reach 71 for 1 in the first 15 overs. But the run-out of Sachithra Serasinghe when he was going well for 38 was followed by two quick wickets with the total on 117, and the Sri Lankan innings lost momentum. The captain, Angelo Mathews, hit out boldly to make a top score of 52 off 69 balls, but the Sri Lankan innings failed to last the distance and they were bowled out in the 49th over.

Sri Lanka's coach, Sumithra Warnakulasuriya, admitted afterwards that his team might have suffered a psychological disadvantage in this game as India had beaten them twice in the Afro-Asia tournament in India in November.

"But I still thought we played well today," he added. "We should have got about 230-240. Even with this total of 207 we could have still won when we got the first three wickets for 28 runs, but we dropped a few catches.

"Upto this game they fielded well but today suddenly it went back to what it was. It is difficult to drop these sort of catches and win a game. That probably was the turning point."

India's coach, Venkatesh Prasad, said yesterday's game was a fantastic test for his players in terms of character and the playing standards they had set for themselves. "It was the test we needed to know where we stood because the first two games we played were pretty one-sided against Scotland and Namibia. I am pretty happy the way we bowled, and our fielding and catching was really good."