Jayawardene steers Sri Lanka to title

The former captain anchors his team's reply in the final after Kulasekara runs through the Indian side and a fighting century from Raina goes in vain.

India may be the team to beat in Test matches but they are rapidly acquiring an unwanted tag for choking in the final of one-day international tournaments. Since 2000, India have contested 20 finals of tournaments involving more than two teams yet have won only four of them, a miserable record for a side boasting such an array of talent. They extended that dreadful sequence yesterday, losing by four wickets at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Bangladesh. India must be sick of the sight of Sri Lanka, having won only one of the last eight finals against their Asian rivals. India's total of 245 never looked likely to be enough to trouble Sri Lanka and they timed their chase to perfection, winning with nine balls to spare. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara laid the foundations for the run chase with a stand of 93 runs for the second wicket before Mahela Jayawardene applied the finishing touches with a classy, unbeaten 71, taking Sri Lanka past the target with three consecutive boundaries in the penultimate over. "I have always said we've got some match-winners in our side," said Sangakkara, who was named player of the series for his 274 runs and seven victims behind the stumps.

"When it mattered in the final, everyone of them fired, especially the bowling unit up front. Mahela then finished it off brilliantly. We managed to build crucial partnerships. The experience in the middle really helped us as well." Sangakkara praised his bowlers, led by Nuwan Kulasekara who took four wickets, for paving the way for victory and was pleased with the improvements in his team's fielding. "The bowlers have been through the mill in the recent series in India and in some of the games here, but all credit for them because they never lost faith. They have tried really hard and although we could have been a little tighter in the middle in this game, it's great to win. "The fielding is something we have always spoken about especially in the last few months where we haven't been at the greatest with our fielding. But slowly, with some of the new blood coming in, they have really improved." MS Dhoni, the defeated India captain, was full of praise for centurion Suresh Raina but the left-hander lacked support, with Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni, himself, making just 16 runs between them. "I don't think the shot selection by our batsmen was really great," admitted Dhoni, who saw Virender Sehwag blast 42 off 27 balls at the top of the order but yet again failed to carry on. "Most of the times we got good, flat wickets. This was one of those tracks with a bit of bounce when it was pitched slightly short of good length. We should have been careful, but we were not." Raina was watchful throughout, making 106 off 115 balls before he as ninth man out, in the 46th over. "I had a chat with him and said we could have added maybe 20 if not more runs had he stayed on," he said. "That would have really mattered. But I am thankful to him for scoring a century and getting us close to 250 odd runs." Dhoni also rued the injury to Ashish Nehra. After dismissing Upul Tharanga with the third delivery of the innings, Nehra failed to complete his second over, limping out with a suspected groin injury.

India: V Sehwag c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 42 G Gambhir b Kulasekara 0 V Kohli c Sangakkara b Welegedara 2 Y Singh c Samaraweera b Welegedara 0 M Dhoni c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 14 S Raina b Welegedara 106 R Jadeja lbw b Dilshan 38 H Singh lbw b Randiv 11 Z Khan c Samaraweera b Kulasekara 16 A Nehra not out 2 S Sreesanth b Perera 4 Extras: (4lb, 6w) 10 Total: (all out; 48.2 overs) 245 Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-4, 3-16, 4-47, 5-60, 6-166, 7-213, 8-233, 9-237 Bowling: Kulasekara 10-0-48-4 (1w) Welegedara 10-1-53-3 Thushara 6-1-26-0 (2w) Randiv 9-0-47-1 (1w) Perera 8.2-0-49-1 (1w) Dilshan 5-0-18-1 (1w) Sri Lanka: U Tharanga c Kohli b Nehra 0 T Dilshan c Dhoni b Yuvraj 49 K Sangakkara c Sehwag b Harbhajan 55 M Jayawardene not out 71 T Samaraweera b Jadeja 27 T Kandamby lbw b Harbhajan 18 S Randiv run out 17 T Perera not out 6 Extras (1lb, 4w, 1nb) 6 Total ( six wickets; 48.3 overs) 249 Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-93, 3-109, 4-157, 5-189, 6-228 Bowling: Nehra 1.2-0-2-1 (1nb) Sreesanth 9.3-0-72-0 Kohli 1.4-0-12-0 Zaheer 10-0-51-0 (2w) Harbhajan 10-0-41-2 (2w) Yuvraj 9-0-41-1 Jadeja 7-0-29-1