Asia Cup 4th Match: Sangakkara stars in close finish

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sangakkara scored his 18th ODI century

Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara was the star of the show as he smashed a magnificent century to lead his side to a two-wicket win over India in Fatullah.

Sangakkara was well supported by opening batsman Kusal Perera, who scored a half-century, and spinner Ajantha Mendis, who took four wickets.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews would have been delighted with his decision to bowl first early on as India opening batsman Rohit Sharma was given out lbw off the bowling of Sachithra Senanayake for 13.

Shikhar Dhawan and captain Virat Kohli made up for the early loss of Sharma with a 97-run partnership, during which Dhawan brought up his half-century, before Kohli was clean bowled by Mendis just two agonising runs short of his own 50.

Ajinkya Rahane made 22 runs before he was caught by Lahiru Thirimanne at backward point off the bowling of Senanayake.

Dhawan ended up scoring 94 off 114 balls, which included seven boundaries and a six, before he was cleaned up by Mendis.

Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik only made four runs before he was caught by Chaturanga de Silva at mid-off off the bowling of Mendis.

Ambati Rayudu scored 18 runs before he was caught by Perera at long-off off the bowling of de Silva.

All-rounder Stuart Binny failed to trouble the scorers as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Senanayake.

Ravichandran Ashwin made a quickfire 18 before he was clean bowled by Lasith Malinga.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar failed to make a single run as he was stumped by Sangakkara off the bowling of Mendis for a duck.

Ravindra Jadeja scored 22 and Mohammed Shami added 14 as India went on to finish on 264/9 at the end of their 50 overs.

Mendis was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with four wickets, while Senanayake snapped up three and Malinga and de Silva chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 265 to win, Sri Lanka got off to an excellent start as their opening pair of Perera and Thirimanne amassed an 80-run partnership before Thirimanne was given out lbw off the bowling of Ashwin for 38.

Perera and Sangakkara kept the runs flowing with a 54-run partnership, during which Perera registered his half-century, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Ashwin.

Perera’s fantastic knock of 64 came off 81 balls and included four boundaries and two sixes.

Mahela Jayawardene only scored nine runs before he was caught by Sharma at extra cover off the bowling of Jadeja.

Jadeja struck again the very next ball as Dinesh Chandimal was clean bowled for a golden duck.

Mathews only mustered six runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Shami.

Senanayake made 12 runs before he was caught by Sharma at midwicket off the bowling of Shami.

De Silva scored nine runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Jadeja.

Sangakkara went on to score his 18th ODI century, but failed to convert it into a bigger score as he was caught by Ashwin at short third man off the bowling of Shami.

Sangakkara’s match-winning innings of 103 came off 84 balls and included 12 boundaries and a six.

Despite Sangakkara being dismissed in the 49th over, Sri Lanka managed to reach their target with four balls to spare.

Shami and Jadeja picked up three wickets each, while Ashwin claimed two victims.

Kohli admitted that he was taken aback by how much dew was present when India were bowling, and said: “I think the bowlers did a good job, there was a lot of dew in the end. We didn’t expect so much dew because there wasn’t so much of it yesterday, but credit to the bowlers to take it to the last over.

“We could have been smarter with our batting and could have added 25-30 runs more. Jadeja was magnificent with the ball, we were just waiting for the ball to turn before the dew.

“We have to pull our socks up [and] rectify the areas we are not good in for the next match.”

Mathews was ecstatic with his team’s victory and paid tribute to Sangakkara and Mendis for their outstanding contributions.

“My groin got a bit stiff but it’s all ok now,” he said. “We looked to play good cricket and we did well to restrict them to 260, the spinners did a beautiful job.

“And then the champion came in to play a terrific knock. Ya, Mendis is our trump card, the dew factor comes in to play and our spinners did well.”

Sangakkara was named Man of the Match for his stellar century, and said: “The dew made it a lot easier for me, my job was to stay there for as long as possible and stay competitive.

“We had a great opening partnership which really set us up. And with Thisara in the end, we knew he could do the job.

“I think handling pressure comes with experience. De silva in his second ODI did well with the ball and fielding, it was a team effort overall. It’s been a few good months for me, I’ve worked hard on my fitness and experience counts.”

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