Commentator gets in on the act as India win despite fumbles
In the 16th over of the match, a flustered Arun Lal, the commentator, brushed aside any pretence of neutrality and rushed out from his seat in the commentary box to meet with the India team management. The former India player was carrying an important message: Suresh Raina had forgotten to take his powerplay. The India captain was under the impression that he had already done so, from the 11th to the 15th over, and, red-faced, he officially took it from the 17th over. There were other gaffes on the field as well; umpires missing ball-counts, captains fluffing their lines and batsmen forgetting the laws. It was that sort of day in Bulawayo as India completed a seven-wicket win.
"I did not forget about it [the powerplay]," insisted Raina at the post-match presentations. "I thought I had informed the umpires, but he said I did not tell him. Still, I think we executed our plans really well." With little energy and intensity on the park, the action mirrored the dreary, cold conditions at the Queens Sports Club. The uninspiring Sri Lanka batting added to the ennui. For the woolly-wrapped fans who braved the elements, the most exciting moments of the first 50 overs came in the last, when Ashok Dinda castled two Sri Lanka batsmen with slower deliveries to wrap up their innings at 242, a score built on Angelo Mathews' disciplined 75 and Thissara Perera's 32, which helped fetch 86 runs from the last 10 overs. Tillakaratane Dilshan had earlier contributed a breezy 61.
There was, however, a tasteless moment in the second innings when Dinesh Karthik and Virat Kohli decided to run after the umpire had already called over. Perhaps the batsmen were desperate to add to the scoreboard after a tidy start by the Sri Lanka bowlers. Following the humbling defeat by Zimbabwe in the opening match of the tri-series, Rohit Sharma led India on the road to redemption with his second successive century in one-day internationals, an unbeaten 101 to add to the 114 he scored on Friday.
Facing criticism for the bulge around his waist, Rohit seems to be fighting back through sheer weight of runs. "It is always nice getting a hundred in consecutive matches," said Rohit, who did not have a three-figure score in his first 42 one-day internationals. "But this is not the end. I am happy to get two, now I need to continue this form." Kohli chipped in with a confident 82, adding 154 runs from 168 balls for the third wicket with Rohit to seal the India win. Thanks to them, the game came to an end with 6.3 overs still available. Had they won inside 40 overs though, India would have received a bonus point in the tri-series, but given the earlier slips, perhaps no one in their team realised its worth. "We did not think about it," admitted Raina. "We just wanted Sharma and Kohli to finish the game for us. They were going really well, so I thought they should just bat through to the end." * Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi
Sri Lanka Tharanga run out 1 Dilshan run out 61 Samaraweera st Karthik b Ojiha 19 Mathews b Yadav 75 Kapugedera c Vijay b Jadeja 20 Silva lbw b Jadeja 5 Perera c Raina b Ojiha 32 Kulasekara b Dinda 19 Randiv run out 1 Fernando not out 0 Mendis b Dinda 2 Extras 3w, 1b, 3lb 7 Total (all out, 49.5 overs) 242 Fall of wickets: 1-8; 2-39; 3-97; 4-150; 5-156; 6-204; 7-226; 8-239; 9-240; 10-242 Bowling: Yadav 10-1-61-1; Dinda 9.5-0-44-2; Ojiha 10-0-44-2; Mishra 10-0-40-0; Jadeja 10-1-49-2 India Karthik c sub b Mendis 18 Vijay lbw b Kulasekara 14 Kohli c Fernando b Randiv 82 Sharma not out 101 Raina not out 24 Extras 3w, 1lb 4 Total (3wkts, 43.3 overs) 243 Fall of wickets: 1-28; 2-47; 3-201 Bowling: Kulasekara 9-1-34-1; Fernando 8.3-0-58-0; Mendis 10-0-64-1; Randiv 9-0-51-1; Perera 7-0-35-0 India won by 7 wickets
Published: May 31, 2010 04:00 AM