In what turned out to be a thrilling run-chase, there was one constant in the constantly changing fortunes – Kumar Sangakkara. Right from the moment he took crease to face the first ball, he chewed the gum in intent, and kept chewing till he got his side close to a thrilling win over neighbours India.
The face, especially amid tense situations, wore a dead pan look as we went about doing business with utmost perfection and elegance. There was not a single moment where one could say,”aah! he got lucky, oh! that fell short”. It was a perfect exhibition of how to chase stiff targets without any fuss.
No yes, no mine and again they collide
Sri Lanka openers were off to a brisk start, and it seemed they’ll go past India at a canter. Kusal Perera, in particular, was the aggressor as he, along with Lahiru Thirimanne, operated just under run-a-ball.
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The duo were helped by some ordinary Indian fielding.
First of the two happened in the fourth over of the innings. Perera miscued one and what should have been a rather easy catch for Ajinkya Rahane, turned out to be an ugly collision. Shikhar Dhawan, who was charging from the ropes, didn’t see Rahane coming and kept charging towards the ball.
Both the fielders didn’t care to call for the catch, and served Perera with a life early in his innings. In the second match of the tournament, this was the second occasion that the Indian fielders were involved in an ugly collision in the field.
Yes, you read it right. Spongy Sanga!
The way the elegant southpaw soaked the pressure in tense situations was a treat to watch. There were occasions where the asking rate climbed over seven-an-over, but the former captain didn’t let it affect his cool batting.
Wickets kept tumbling at the other end, but he held fort and got his side agonisingly close to the 265-run target. Close enough that it didn’t take Thisara Perera much time to trigger celebrations in the Sri Lankan dressing room.
Kohli – 200/100
It was not a Kohli show with the bat, but his captaincy in the middle which impressed one and all. The way the young skipper juggled his bowlers in the middle throws light on his smart cricketing brain, especially under pressure.
Sri Lanka, at one point, were cruising along. But Kohli continued to attack. He didn’t wait for things to happen and instead made them happen. Introducing Ashwin in short spells with attacking fields did the trick as the offie was successful in removing both the openers.
Jadeja, too, benefitted from Kohli’s street-smart thinking as the left-armer returned with impressive figures of 3/30. Jadeja’s spell almost did the trick for India, but Sangakkara’s ton turned out to be the difference between the two sides.