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Sanga's ton goes astray as India win in a thriller

India pulled off a thrilling two wicket win over Sri Lanka in a tense packed match in their Commonwealth Bank Tri Series Tourney's eighth game to take a step closer to meet Australia in the final at the Adelaide Oval in a day/night game yesterday.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni this time assured that India win with his steam roll batting and kept vigil till the last run was scored. India had a few anxious moments during the latter stages of the game when Amarasinghe and Malinga made inroads to the Indian innings, but Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh batted sensibly to guide them with a fifth wicket stand of 59 off 58 balls before Vaas bowled Yuvraj with a swinging yorker which the batsman couldn't clamp down on time.

India chasing a moderate total of 238 in 50 overs achieved their target with five balls to spare.

Dhoni batted with great care and remained unbeaten on 50 facing 68 deliveries. Sri Lanka got the prize wicket of Sachin Tendulkar when Lasith Malinga bowled him for his 20th 'duck' in limited over cricket in his first over with virtually was an unplayable delivery. But the Lankans could not press on that early advantage.

India at that stage was 99 for 4. Dhoni arrived to join Yuvraj Singh.

With the dismissal of Yuvraj, Dhoni found another ally, Irfan Pathan and with him Dhoni added another 58 for the sixth wicket off 75 balls.

Based on those two stands India were cruising ahead, but Amarasinghe with two quick wickets and Malinga trapping Harbhajan leg before wicket opened the gate for a probable Sri Lanka win. But Dhoni stood between like a pillar as he batted with caution and aggression to dispel any chance of a Sri Lankan win.

A sensational record breaking third wicket stand between skipper Mahela Jayawardena and his deputy Kumar Sangakkara who were involved in a face saving 153 run partnership pulled Sri Lanka out of a threshold of disaster to a position of reasonable strength after losing two wickets for 4 runs off 8 balls when Jayawardena won the toss and elected to bat.

The Lankans in the quest of winning and securing a place in the final to meet Australia got off to an inauspicious start in the most unusual fashion losing Jayasuriya.

Dilshan cover drove the first ball of the innings bowled by Munaf Patel who opened the bowling for India for 4, and going for a repetition edged one to Wicket keeper Dhoni.

The situation required a bit more watchfulness in this crucial match. Sanath Jayasuriya then was run out in the most unlucky fashion when Sangakkara straight drove one, which cannoned on to the stumps off bowler Munaf Patel's hand on his follow through.

In eight balls Sri Lanka had lost two of their top batsmen for 6 runs and the massive repair job of the innings fell on the shoulders of the captain and his deputy. Jayawardena and Sangakkara paced their stand well and had added 50 runs in 99 deliveries and the third wicket stand had to go on and on if the Lankans were to post a match winning score.

The batting to follow was Chamara Silva, Kapugedera and Maharoof who were not among the runs in the tournament.

With the late middle order looking brittle with the bowlers to follow it was important the pair not only occupy the crease but also accumulate a substantial match winning total and two of them got their act together.

Sangakkkara came in as a virtual opener and Jayawardena who needed a good innings to boost his confidence was in total dominance. The duo put on the 100 run stand for the third wicket in 155 deliveries . With both batsmen reaching accomplished 50s.

Sangakkara had three fours and had faced 88 deliveries and Jayawardena followed suit facing 74 deliveries and with four boundaries. The pair batted unblemished except when Sangakkara 54 pulled one to be caught at midwicket by Robin Uthappa off a no ball off the bowling of Praveen Kumar who was preferred for Sreesanth when the score was 115 for 2 in the 30.4 over.

Sangakkara and Jayawardena batted splendidly to help the side to their most spirited display of the tour. Jayawardena showed signs of switching in to top gear in the 35th over.

He hoisted Inshant Sharma, the most successive bowler into the stands over mid wicket as the cracks seemed to be appearing in the bowling sector with India kept in the sweltering heat 38C for the second day after their gruelling contest on Sunday against Australia.

Jayawaredena and Sangakkara too would have felt he effects as there were frequent visits by the twelfth man to the field with a supply of water. These two batting with fine understanding adding 153 runs for the third wicket off 112 balls and was just gaining momentum prior to Jayawardena's dismissal.

The pair had brought the score from 2 to 6 to 159 for 3. There after Chamara Silva joined Sangakkara to add a further 73 runs for the fifth wicket off 63 deliveries.

The run out monster seemed to be haunting Sri Lanka, and in the 38th over with the total on 159 for 3 Jayawardena was run out in a similar fashion like Jayasuriya, the ball ricocheted off Praveen Kumara's out stretched hand in his follow through to hit the stumps at the non strikers end and Chamara Kapugedera was the other victim.

SRI LANKA INNINGS

T. Dilshan c Dhoni b Patel	  4 
S. Jayasuriya run out		  0 
K. Sangakkara c Kumar b Pathan	128 
M. Jayawardene run out		 71 
C. Kapugedera run out		  1 
C. Silva c Uthappa b H. Singh	 21 
F. Maharoof not out		  3 
C. Vaas not out			  1 
EXTRAS (4lb, 1nb, 4w)		  9 
TOTAL (for six wickets)		238 
FALL: 4 (Dilshan), 6 (Jayasuriya), 159 (Jayawardene), 161 (Kapugedera), 
234 (Sangakkara), 235 (Silva). 
BOWLING: Patel 9-2-38-1 (1w), I. Sharma 10-0-44-0, Pathan 10-0-44-1 (2w), 
Kumar 10-0-49-0 (1nb), H. Singh 10-0-54-1, Y. Singh 1-0-5-0 (1w). 
Overs: 50 

INDIA INNINGS
 
G. Gambhir c Sangakkara b Amerasinghe	15 
S. Tendulkar b Malinga			 0 
R. Uthappa run out			10 
R. Sharma c Silva b Muralitharan	24 
Y. Singh b Vaas				76 
M.S. Dhoni not out			50 
I. Pathan b Amerasinghe			31 
P. Kumar c Jayawardene b Amerasinghe	 6 
H. Singh lbw Malinga			 3 
I. Sharma not out			 0 
EXTRAS (14lb, 10w)			24 
TOTAL (for eight wickets)		239 
FALL: 2 (Tendulkar), 33 (Uthappa), 35 (Gambhir), 99 (Sharma), 158 (Y. Singh), 
216 (Pathan), 229 (Kumar), 236 (H. Singh). 
BOWLING: Vaas 10-0-27-1, Malinga 10-0-37-2 (6w) Amerasinghe 10-0-49-3 (1w), 
Maharoof 6.1-0-43-0 (2w), Muralitharan 10-0-44-1 (1w), 
Jayasuriya 2-0-14-0, Dilshan 1-0-11-0.

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