"Mendis is bowled, and there are the cheers for India, because the have won the Compaq Cup."
These were the words of the commentator when Harbhajan Singh bowled out Ajantha Mendis to grab his third five wicket haul and guide India to a 46 run victory over Sri Lanka in the Compaq Cup final.
The match was a really interesting match. Let us see how it was so interesting.
The pitch at the Premadasa stadium was a slow one. The Team batting first had the advantage of scoring and putting up good totals, and the team batting second had the disadvantage of playing under lights chasing big scores.
India played three matches in this series, and was unlucky with the toss in the first two matches.
In the first match against the Kiwis the Indian bowlers got lucky and restricted them to a small total. India had the disadvantage of chasing under lights, but since the target was a low one, India managed a win.
But against Sri Lanka in the second ODI unfortunately the bowlers turned out to be very expensive, and a few good knocks from the Lankan batsmen helped the Lankan score reach 307. India unfortunately couldn't survive under lights and the Lankan pacer Angelo Mathews grabbed 6/20 to guide Sri Lanka to a 139 run victory.
But luckily in the final India won the toss and chose to bat first.
Sachin Tendulkar opened with Rahul Dravid. Dravid chipped in with a small but good score. But after Dravid fell, the skipper M.S Dhoni promoted himself up the order and scored a fifty and kept the scoreboard ticking. But the real fifty was of Yuvraj Singh who made a 39 ball half century and helped the score get past the 300 mark. But the main cause for the big score was the brilliant century by Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar hit 138 of 133 balls to show his batting ability and gave the Lankans a message, that he is not someone who will get out easily. He told them, that he had still has a lot of cricket left in him.
Sachin accomplished a number of feats after he hit this ton. He became the highest century scorer in India Sri Lanka ODIs, he took his ODI average above 50 and he also earned his 59th Man of the Match award and his 14 Man of the Series award.
Sachin also helped India break the jinx, which stopped them from winning finals in multilateral series. India has won its last multilateral series in January 2009.
After this win India achieved a hat trick of ODI series wins in Sri Lanka.
Oh sorry! I should be talking about the match.
So coming back to the match, I must say that Sri Lanka had a huge task of scoring 320 runs under the lights. Though they lost, but the fought really hard and for some time the viweres were not sure which side would win. Tilkaratne Dilshan smashed 9 fours and Sanath Jayasuriya also accompanied him as Sri Lanka was off a great start. Everyone except me switched off their televisions. Skipper Dhoni was very tense. He finally put Harbhajan Singh on bowling who tricked Dilshan with his magic ball and bowled him out.
Before that Sanath Jayasuriya was dropped on 13 by Virat Kohli. There were several other misses and dropped catches as well. But we will talk about them later.
Shortly after Dilshan fell Harbhajan sent Mahela Jayawardene back to the paviloin with his doosra. But then Sanath Jayasuriya started smashing boundaries like Dilshan. It was time for skipper Dhoni to apply another spin tactic. Yusuf Pathan was sent to bowl and Jayasuriya was out on the last ball of Pathan's first over.
Then there were two new batsmen at the crease. Kumara Sangakkara and Thilan Thushara. Thushara fell Mathews came in, Mathews fell Kandamby came in. This was the situation for some time.
But then Sangakkara and Kandamby put up a good partnership of 51 runs. But soon after that the skipper had to go and Chamara Kapugedera came in.
There was a partnership of 70 runs between Kapugedera and Kandamby. It was finally broken by Harbhajan Singh who bowled Kapugedera out.
Then wickets started falling and the Lankan side collapsed on 273 and India won by 46 runs. But India would have won long back if there had not been so many drops and misfields.
Let us look at the drops and misfields.
Jayasuriya was dropped on thiteen by Virat Kohli at backward point. Then Dhoni missed a run out chance after Sangakkara nudged the ball close to the leg side. Later Dhoni again missed stumping Sangakkara due to fumbling. Then later Yusuf Pathan dropped Kandamby at cover. Then Dhoni again missed a run out chance after Kapugedera sent the ball behind the wickets and tried for a nonexistent run. Later Kohli threw the ball so high that Dhoni had to jump and collect it and unfortunately the batsman was home due to the high throw. Then Yuvraj tried to run out Kandamby at the non strikers end but unfortunately the ball ricocheted off the stumps.
Most of the Indian bowlers were expensive except for Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh. But the off spinner Harbhajan Singh's 5/56 was great and was well rewarded.
So as i conclude this article i would like to wish India luck for the Champions Trophy and wish that they don't commit so many mistakes and also wish that Dravid regains his old lost form and performs well in the CT.