Series Review

Indian Oil Cup, 2005

Tony Cozier

1. Sri Lanka 2. India 3. West Indies

Sri Lanka confirmed their strength at home - and their No. 2 position in the ICC's one-day rankings - with their triumph in the triangular IndianOil Cup, defeating India in the final at Colombo's Premadasa Stadium, as they had done a year earlier at the same venue to win the Asia Cup. It was another chapter in India's history of tripping up at the final stage of multiteam tournaments. This was the 14th time since 1998 they had been beaten in such a final, against a solitary triumph.

India let slip a clear advantage in all three of their matches against Sri Lanka. In the two qualifying games Sri Lanka were 112 for five and 95 for six, with seemingly little chance of reaching modest targets - yet did so comfortably each time. And in the final, India were coasting towards a demanding target of 282 until six wickets tumbled for 43, and they ended up 18 short. It was a disappointment for Rahul Dravid, India's captain for the tournament in the initial absence of Sourav Ganguly, who missed the first two matches while completing his suspension for slow over-rates in the preceding Pakistan series, and for Greg Chappell, who had taken over as coach from John Wright only a month earlier.

India's inconsistency was their undoing. Loading the batting, which limited them to four specialist bowlers, caused the problems in those qualifying games against Sri Lanka. And yet when India did introduce Anil Kumble for the final, Sri Lanka responded with the highest total of the tournament.

Sri Lanka's success was based on experience, depth, and their self-belief on home turf. Mahela Jayawardene was at the centre of their recovery in two of the matches against India, and was clearly the Man of the Series. West Indies, with a weakened team and six newcomers playing under floodlights for the first time, lost their first two matches, but bounced back with such spirit that they handed Sri Lanka their only defeat, and were within eight runs of beating India in their last match and advancing to the final.

Match reports for

1st Match: Sri Lanka v India at Dambulla, Jul 30, 2005
Report | Scorecard

2nd Match: India v West Indies at Dambulla, Jul 31, 2005
Report | Scorecard

3rd Match: Sri Lanka v West Indies at Dambulla, Aug 2, 2005
Report | Scorecard

4th Match: Sri Lanka v India at Dambulla, Aug 3, 2005
Report | Scorecard

5th Match: Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (RPS), Aug 6, 2005
Report | Scorecard

6th Match: India v West Indies at Colombo (RPS), Aug 7, 2005
Report | Scorecard

Final: Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), Aug 9, 2005
Report | Scorecard

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