India's sprightliness in the field accounted for three run-outs © Getty Images
There are several ways of beating a better team but one of the easiest routes, as a Tillakaratne Dilshan-inspired Sri Lanka showed yesterday, is by trumping them in the field. India, for the first time in almost two years, went into a one-day game without a specialist spinner in their playing XI but the efficacy of their fielding, as Rahul Dravid admitted, made up for their lack of options.

"It's a terrific advantage to have guys like Yuvraj, Kaif and Raina in the covers," Dravid admitted on a day when his side had pulled off four run-outs. "It makes a difference to the bowling and often acts as the extra bowler. We fielded well at Peshawar and were very good today. Saving 15-20 runs on the field can make a huge difference. We did make a few mistakes - the outfield was bumpy - but you can't expect every single thing to go right. Overall we were great."

Dravid was quick to add that the fielding had helped the bowler's keep a tight line throughout. "To a man they bowled well," he continued, "and gave us the early inroads that allowed us to apply pressure. We could slow the run-rate down and didn't help them consolidate. We had discussed a few things before the game - evaluating lengths, lines, discussing various strategies - and most of it worked here."

Like a few others, Dravid revealed that he was surprised at Inzamam-ul-Haq's decision to bat first at the toss. "I would have fielded first had I won the toss. I chose a spinner as the Supersub as a cover up if I lost the toss and was asked to bat. I didn't expect them to bat first."

India were further encouraged by Virender Sehwag's rollicking return to form, kickstarting their chase and managing his third fifty since the start of the season. "I thought he was batting well even when he wasn't getting big scores," he continued. "He's been unlucky to get out on 20s and 30s but when he scores he always makes a difference because he scores at such a quick rate. Sachin and Sehwag were brilliant at the start and it made a big difference."