It wasn’t easy early on as the ball was doing a bit. Both Lahiru Gamage and Dhamika Prasad were testing the Indian duo, who were happy to buy some time in the middle. After 8 overs, India were 28/0 to everybody’s amusement. But Once the conditions eased, Rahane quickly got the hold of the situation, driving and pulling the Lankan pacers to the fence.
Dhawan on the other hand punished Prasad every time he offered width. His glorious off drive off Dhamika Prasad must have brought creases to Sangakkara’s forehead who was guilty of dropping him when he was on 10. Had he been caught, things would have been different.
Raina milestone: Cuttack became a memorable place for the elegant left-hander whose ODI career began on 30th July, 2005 with a duck against the same team. Raina made the occasion even more special with an all-round show.
He first played a good hand with a 36-ball 52 and then doubled up as Kohli’s 3rd spinning alternative providing succour to the young captain who was already a bowler short. Raina fetched a dangerous looking Angelo Mathews who played a switch hit to Patel and could have bothered Kohli had he been let off.
Aaron injury: For Aaron it was a different story altogether. “Impressive” that’s how commentators described his early spell as he ran in to bowl Sri Lanka openers.
Fresh after a break, Aaron was consistently hitting 140kph. He bowled 148.8 to be precise to Tharanga and kept him on his toes during his stay at the crease.
But things soon took a turn for the worse as Aaron pushed himself a bit more and injured his thigh muscle. It was not a good start for the Jharkhand pacer whose World Cup dream may be all but over already.
The double blow: Coming into the series Sri Lanka lost valuable players in Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath.
Looking at Indian pitches and former’s Mumbai Indians success story, it is not hard to imagine how devastated the islanders would have been. In such a situation, the team think tank depended wholeheartedly on Jayawardene and Sangakkara.
In a tense chase, both disappointed.
Sangakkara was in a state of ambivalence playing a peach of a delivery from Ishant; walked away without showing any stomach to fightback. Jaywardene looked a class apart every time he put bat on ball, but soon ran out of luck as the only mediocre shot that came from his bat at the crease proved fatal.
Axar Patel: Axar Patel, playing in his 5th ODI match displayed tremendous courage and unassailable temperament. He played a short-lived but effective cameo and then returned with the figures of 2 for 24 in his six overs.
In his very first over he faced a classy batsman in Mahela Jaywardene, who flayed Axar around the park with his wrist work. But Axar didn’t lose heart and eventually got his man.