Ajantha and Sanath help Sri Lanka clinch Asia Cup
Sri Lankan player Sanath Jayasuriya waves his bat as he
celebrates his century against India during the final match of
the ninth Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament at the National
Cricket Stadium in Karachi July 6, 2008.
Sri Lanka’s new spin sensation Ajantha Mendis grabbed a six wicket
haul after Sanath Jayasuriya had hammered a brilliant century as Sri
Lanka clinched the Asia Cup for the fourth time defeating India by 100
runs in the six nation tournament final worked off under lights at the
National Stadium in Karachi on Sunday.
Mendis playing in his first Asia Cup final returned career best
figures of six wickets for 13 runs as India were dismissed for 173 runs
in the 40th over while chasing Sri Lanka’s formidable total of 273. Sri
Lanka’s success in this ninth edition of the Asia Cup had a great amount
of significance because this was the first time they had won the title
while performing away from home.
Mendis came into bowl at a vital stage of the innings when the Indian
openers Virender Sehwag and Gautham Gambhir had given their side another
solid start during their run chase. Although Gambhir fell in the fifth
over his partner Sehwag continued to punish the Sri Lankan attack
reaching his fifty from just 26 balls with ten fours.
However Mendis struck twice in his first over removing Sehwag and
Yuvraj Singh and soon the game took a dramatic change from there onwards
with Sri Lanka beginning to take control of the situation.
Mendis finished his first spell with remarkable figures of four
wickets for eight runs from four overs after adding the wickets of
Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma. Mendis came back into the attack in the
30th over and picked up two wickets in successive deliveries to seal the
game in Sri Lanka’s favour.
This was also the best bowling figures ever in an innings in the Asia
Cup tournament. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni offered the only
resistance with a stubborn knock of 49 from 74 deliveries with four
Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis celebates after taking the
wicket of Indian batsman Rohit Sharma during the final of the
Asia Cup Cricket Championship at National Stadium in Karachi,
Pakistan on Sunday, July 6, 2008. Mendis wrecked the Indian
batting with six wickets for 13.
This was after veteran Sanath Jayasuriya had struck a mastery century
as Sri Lanka piled up 273 runs after been put into bat. The dashing left
hander playing in his record 25th Asia Cup match hammered an astonishing
125 runs which was also his second in the competition and his sixth
overall in the Asia Cup history before Sri Lanka folded up in the last
Jayasuriya who celebrated his 39th birthday recently also pushed
Australian captain Riky Ponting into the third place in the most number
of centuries in one day internationals while scoring his 27th hundred in
his 416th match.
Even then this was a controlled innings from Jayasuriya who quite
surprisingly decided to play the sheet anchor role after Sri Lanka had
lost four wickets within the first 12 overs of the innings. Indian
captain Mahendra Singh Dhonis decision to bowl first after winning the
toss certainly paid dividends as paceman Ishant Sharma picked up three
key wickets during a hostile opening spell.
However Jayasuriya had the situation well under control as he took
the fight into the Indian bowlers with a combination of power and
science. He first showed signs of aggression when he collected 15 runs
off Irfan Pathans first over including three successive boundaries.
Jayasuriya raced to his 66th one day international half century by
hoisting his second six off Ishant Sharma over the mid wicket boundary.
His knock also included half a dozen of boundaries and came from just 43
Jayasuriya delivered another severe blow on paceman R. P. Singh while
taking 26 runs from one over which included three sixes and two fours.
This was a tremendous effort considering the fact that wickets had
fallen at regular intervals from the other end. Jayasuriya found a
reliable partner in Tillekeratne Dilshan and the pair pulled their side
from a near total collapse into a strong position while putting on 131
runs for the fifth wicket.
They fell shot by just two runs from erasing the previous fifth
wicket stand of 133 runs in the Asia Cup tournament set by the Indian
combination of Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh against Sri Lanka at the
Dambulla Stadium in 2004.
Jayasuriya’s dominance in this partnership was so much that
Tillekeratne’s contribution was only four runs during their first 50
runs. This was the stage where Jayasuriya really cut loose before
reaching his 27th one day international century from 79 deliveries with
the aid of five sixes and nine boundaries.
Dilshan meanwhile brought an end to a series of low scores by
stroking his first fifty in five innings when his team needed him most.
The right hander rose to the occasion by contributing a 56 runs from 68
balls with three boundaries.
SRI LANKA INNINGS
c I. Sharma b Sehwag 125
K. Sangakkara run out 4
M. Jayawardene c R. Sharma b I.Sharma 11
C. Kapugedera c Raina b I. Sharma 5
C. Silva b I. Sharma 0
T. Dishan c Dhoni b Pathan 56
C. Vaas b RP Singh 19
N. Kulasekera not out 29
T.T. Mirando lbw RP Singh 5
A. Mendis b RP Singh 8
M. Muralitharan c Dhoni b Pathan 2
Extras (lb-8 w-1) 9
Total (all out in 49.5 overs) 273
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-34, 3-66, 4-66, 5-197,
6-213, 7-236, 8-256, 9-264, 10-273.
Bowling: Singh 9-1-67-3 (w1),
Pathan 9.5-0-67-2, Ojha 10-1-38-0,
Gautam Gambhir c Dilshan b Vaas 6
Virender Sehwag st Sangakkara b Mendis 60
Suresh Raina b Mendis 16
Yuvraj Singh b Mendis 0
Dhoni c Sangakkara b Vaas 49
Rohit Sharma lbw b Mendis 3
Robin Uthappa lbw b Muralitharan 20
Irfan Pathan c Jayawardene b Mendis 2
R.P. Singh b Mendis 0
Pragyan Ojha not out 6
Ishant Sharma b Kulasekera 8
Extras: (2b, 1w) 3
TOTAL: (all out) 173
Fall of wickets: 1-36, 2-76, 3-76, 4-93, 5-97,
6-135, 7-154, 8-154, 9-160, 10-173.
Bowling: Chaminda Vaas 9-0-55-2,
Nuwan Kalusekera 6.3-0-26-1,
Thilan Thushara 8-0-51-0 (1w),
Ajantha Mendis 8-1-13-6,
Muttiah Muralitharan 8-0-26-1.
Congrats from President
President Mahinda Rajapaksa congratulated the Sri Lanka team for
their convincing 100-run win over India in the final to win their first
Asia Cup on foreign soil.
In a special congratulatory message to Sri Lanka captain Mahela
Jayawardene, President Rajapaksa commended the fighting qualities of the
Lankan team to win the title in style.
He also commended the outstanding performances of soldier Ajantha
Mendis (who bagged six wickets) and veteran opening batsman Sanath
Jayasuriya (125 runs). The sports-loving President wished the Lankan
team all success in the forthcoming home series against India.