India 225-7 in 50 overs
Sri Lanka 229-5 in 40.5 overs
Sanat Jayasuriya's pyrotechnics turned India's midsummer dreams into a nightmare today. The fizz from the Pepsi Independence Cup One-Day International (ODI) between India and Sri Lanka evaporated in a jiffy as Jayasuriya's heroics reduced the match into a no-contest. The Saturday night cricket fever was an unalloyed disappointment for the jingoistic home crowd, many of who had come with the tricolour painted in various parts of their anatomy in celebratory anticipation.
With the result a long foregone conclusion, the Wankhede Stadium looked half empty by the time the last rites of the mismatch was completed. The Lankan victory with 9.1 overs, five wickets and plenty of time and talent unused placed the World Cup champions' prowess in proper perspective.
The Indian annihilation also simplified things in the remaining matches with all four teams in the fray with a won-one, lost-one record, the winners of the match between New Zealand and Lanka at Hyderabad and the one between India and Pakistan at Chennai will decide the finalists for the championship.
The Lankans reacted like a cornered tigers in the do-or-die situation for them. And none exemplified the predatory instinct better than the genius of Jayasuriya, whose fourth ODI century an unbeaten 151 was the highest ever by a Lankan in this class of cricket.
The man of the Wills World Cup championship gave brilliant expression of his wide repertoire of willow brilliance. Even the early dismissal of his opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana playing Abey Kuruvilla away from his body and edging into slip did not shackle him. Right from ball one he stamped his ascendancy and the manner in which he mauled India's key bowler Venkatesh Prasad upset India's limited options. Prasad went for 34 runs in his first spell of four overs and India never recovered from that.
Maravan Attapattu gave classy support at the other end. Like Rahul Dravid in the India innings, Attapattu proved that there is place for orthodoxy and classicism in the abridged form of cricket, provided the methods are gainfully employed.
Attapattu, in the context of the second wicket association, was a sleeping partner. He contributed just 38 in the stand of 138 in 23.5 overs. But his was a worth only paled in comparison.
By the halfway stage, Lanka were 146 for one and the flutter of quick wickets in the form of Attapattu and Aravinda and later that of Arjuna Ranatunga and Hashan Tillekeratne were artificial excitements in the Indian ranks, whose body language was a dead give away of the prevailing situation.
In the end, Jayasuriya returned like an one-man triumphant army. His unbeaten knock of 151 a virtual solo diminishment act. His classy innings was studded with four sixes three off left-arm Sunil Joshi and one off Prasad besides 17 boundaries.
Earlier, India rallied from the brink of an impending disaster to put up a fighting total. It was the cerebral opportunism of Dravid, the expertise of Ajay Jadeja in crisis management and the firepower of Robin Singh which served as principal ingredients in the Indian fightback.
Jadeja walked in with the Indian scoreboard reading 29 for three after Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli gift-wrapped their wickets in a dubious show of traditional Indian hospitality.
Ganguly was gone first ball, bowled through the gate playing a tentative push to Chaminda Vaas. Sanjeeva de Silva then made hay while his luck shone. He first had Tendulkar slashing into third man's hands and then Kambli fell in the trap laid for him, picking the man at short mid-wicket, waiting in anticipation for the error of judgment in strokeplay.
Skipper Ranatunga marshalled his resources intelligently and he received excellent support from his bowlers Vaas, who bowled a robotic-precision first spell of 6-3-6-1 and Kumara Dharmasena, whose opening spell read 7-2-16-2.
Sanjeeva, however, tended to err in length and came in for some punishment from Dravid. The Karnataka batsman was circumspect, but did not let the scoring opportunities go by. Jadeja, on the other hand, curbed his natural aggressive tendencies and played the support role to perfection.
It was not until the 30th over that Jadeja switched gears. His first boundary was not convincing an intended drive taking the edge and going to the vacant third man fence. But Jadeja had tasted blood. He lofted Aravinda over mid-off and flicked him over midwicket. He then trained his sights on Jayasuriya as the tempo of the Indian innings picked up.
The partnership was worth 95 priceless runs in 21.5 overs when Dravid made an all too familiar mistake giving room to cut a ball spinning into him and getting bowled. It was a gem of an innings and was another proof why is rated as India's best batsman after Tendulkar. Mr Consistent score 61 (103b) with six off his eight fours milked of Sanjeeva.
Robin stepped into the breach and provided a rare display of his batting worth in the highest class of cricket. Robin had recorded a half-century in 18 ODI and this was as fine an opportunity as any that he would have got.
Taking over the role of aggressor, he steered and swept Dharmasena for fours, swung Muttiah Muralitharan and then slammed Jayasuriya to the mid-wicket fence and followed it up by hoisting him over the same region for six.
The 50 for the fifth wicket was realised in 9.1 overs and the run rate it would be more appropriate to dub it desperate did not touch the four per over mark till the 42nd over .
The stand was worth 58 in 10.2 overs when Jadeja was bowled by Jayasuriya. for 72 (102b, 4x4, 1x6). Jadeja, it may be recalled, scored 43 not out in 42 balls in the Titan Cup final and 54 not out in 44 balls in the Mohinder Amarnath Benefit ODIs (both in Mumbai) to play important parts in India's victories. But today it was an effort in vain.
Nayan Mongia joined in the run and frolic at the end, scoring 21 in 17 balls (1x6, 1x4) as India plundered 67 runs between the 42nd and 49th overs the last over yielded just one run with Anil Kumble faced four balls without scoring before finally getting out to the last ball.
Robin, who added 42 with Mongia in 5.1 overs, duly scored his first half century in ODIs (51: 52b, 4x4, 1x6) which enabled India set Lanka a target of 226 at an asking rate of 4.52 per over.
India, for whom little went right after winning the toss, have much to reflect from this loss. Not the least, the pressure on Tendulkar as skipper. He clearly erred in underbowling his best bowler Kuruvilla, whose final analysis of 7-1-22-2 reflects his economy and productivity in the mayhem.
It would be a pity if India fail to make it to the final of a championship that is in celebration of its 50th year of Independence. SCOREBOARD INDIA: Saurav Ganguly b Vaas 0 (1b), Sachin Tendulkar c Dharamasena b Sajeewa de Silva 2 (4b, 19m), Rahul Dravid b Muralitharan 61 (103b, 135m, 8x4), Vinod Kambli c Tillekeratne b Sajeewa de Silva 4 (19b, 38m), Ajay Jadeja b Jayasuriya 72 (102b, 129m, 4x4, 1x6), Robin Singh b Sajeewa de Silva 51 (52b, 74m, 4x4, 1x6), Nayan Mongia not out 21 (17b, 30m, 1x4, 1x6), Anil Kumble c Muralitharan b Vaas 0 (4b, 5m). Extras (lb-6, w-7, nb-1) 14; Total: (for seven wickets in 50 overs): 225
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Ganguly, 0.1 overs); 2-4 (Tendulkar, 3.3); 3-29 (Kambli, 11.3); 4-124 (Dravid, 33.2); 5-182 (Jadeja, 43.5); 6-224 (Robin, 49); 7-225 (Kumble, 50)
Bowling: Vaas 10-3-13-2, Sajeeva de Silva 10-0-59-3 (3 w, 1 nb), Muralitharan 10-0-37-1 (2 w), Dharamasena 10-2-38-0, Jayasuriya 8-0-55-1 (2 w), Aravinda 2-0-17-0
SRI LANKA: Sanath Jayasuriya not out 151 (121b, 189m, 17x4, 4x6), Romesh Kaluwitharana c Tendulkar b Kuruvilla 0 (2b, 1m), Marvavan Atapattu run out (Joshi) 38 (68b, 107m, 4x4), Aravinda de Silva lbw Kumble 0 (1b, 3m), Arjuna Ranatunga c sub (Khoda) b Kumble 17 (30b, 40m, 1x4, 1x6), Hashan Tillekeratne c Mongia b Kuruvilla 6 (19b, 23m), Roshan Mahanama not out 4 (6b, 6m, 1x4). Extras (b-4, lb-2, w-7): 13. Total (in 40.5 overs; 189 minutes for five wickets): 229.
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Kaluwitharana, 1.2 overs); 2-146 (Attapattu, 25.1); 3-151 (Aravinda, 25.5); 4-194 (Ranatunga; 33.5), 5-220 (Tillekeratne; 39.3).
Bowling: Prasad 10-1-57-0 (3w), Kuruvilla 7-1-22-2, Kumble 10-0-55-2 (2w), Joshi 9.5-0-56-0, Robin 2-0-20-0, Tendulkar 2-0-13-0 (2w).
Result: Sri Lanka won by five wickets. Man of the match: Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka).