Match reports

Asia Cup

Charlie Austin
Charlie Austin
At R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, August 1, 2004 (day/night). Sri Lanka won by 25 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka saved their best performance till last, rising to the occasion as crowds poured through the turnstiles for the first time. For India, cheered on by thousands of horn-blowing supporters, defeat stretched their run in one-day finals to a solitary win in their last 19 attempts. Midway through the match, though, India looked the likely winners after restricting Sri Lanka to 228. But the pitch was far drier than the teams had expected, and at times the ball spun viciously. Tendulkar, delivering his leg-breaks from around the wicket into the rough, had been fiendishly difficult to play. By the evening, the surface had deteriorated further and, after Vaas and Zoysa imposed early pressure with miserly spells, Sri Lanka's spin bowlers slowly throttled the Indian run-chase. Tendulkar kept the innings together for a while, but received scant support from a batting lineup restored to full strength by Laxman's recovery. Sri Lanka's approach was highly aggressive, a tactic that unsettled India's lower order, but led to three players - Sangakkara, Chandana and Dilshan - being fined for verbal abuse. Fittingly, it was Atapattu, responsible for the new togetherness, focus and intensity of the team, who won the match award for a crucial 65 earlier in the day.
Man of the Match: M. S. Atapattu. Man of the Series: S. T. Jayasuriya.

Charlie Austin is Cricinfo's Sri Lankan correspondent