It was a case of deja vu for Sri Lanka, who despite a battling performance with bat and ball, lost by wickets to India- and lost the series 5-0. The Sri Lankan’s can take a lot of positives from this performance despite defeat.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Matthews in particular had a game to remember, the all-rounder clubbed a career best 139 not out which included 10 sixes, which where mainly bludgeoned to the leg side boundary- and six fours. Matthews was again supported by Lahiru Thrimanne who scored 52, put on 128 with his captain for the fifth wicket.
Matthews and Thirimanne came together with the score at 85-4, the last wicket to fall at that stage stage was Mahela Jaywardena. The former captain made an attractive looking 32 before being caught of Ajikya Rahane off the bowling of Ravi Ashwin.
With Sri Lanka’s top order failing yet again, it was left to Sri Lanka captain to lead by example – and Matthews duly did with a brutal 139 not out. ‘Normal service’ resumed there after for the Indian’s as Perrera, Prasanna and Mendis fell very cheaply- between the three of them they only managed to muster six runs.
That was a shame to Angelo Matthews at the other end, the Sri Lankan all-rounder’s brilliant innings was looking like it was going to be in vain. To Sri Lanka’s credit they managed to muster 286-8 from their 50 overs, which seemed to be a defendable score.
India, who were looking to chase 287 to complete a whitewash, got their run chase off to the worst possible start. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma both falling early to an inspired Angelo Matthews. Lahiru Gamage who replaced the ineffective Nuwan Kulasekra, was bowling very much in tandem with his captain, Gamage was developing a lovely line which was making scoring difficult for Ambati Rayudu and Virat Kohli.
After 10 overs India were 34-2, an example of the difficulty scoring this pitch . Rayudu and Kohli from that point on batted brilliantly, an over from Angelo Matthews in particular for me was quite sensational, the pair clubbed Matthews (who was Sri Lanka’s best bowler for successive boundaries.
When Rayudu was run out for 59 after a mix up with Virat Kohli. The score at that stage was 150-3, this match was in India’s hand – but the Indian’s started to ‘wobble’. Robbin Uthappa and Kedar Jadhav in particular threw their wickets away when looked ‘well set. Stuart Binny didn’t fair much better, the Rajasthan Royals all-rounder needlessly got stumped when trying to play too big of a shot, much to the annoyance of Virat kohli. Ravi Ashwin fell for a first ball duck, the very next ball.
For Sri Lanka, the ‘worst possible’ thing to do was to get Stuart Binny out. The Indian captain ‘moved up a gear’ when presented with the strike. Thankfully Kohli had a ‘sensible head’ with him in Akshar Patel, the youngster sensibly scored singles to get the more established batsmen Virat Kohli on strike.
As the run chase came near to it’s conclusion, Virat Kohli went on the offensive. The 25 year old Kohli ‘butchered’ Ajantha Mendis who was threatening to take this game away from India by taking the wickets of Uthappa, Jadhav, Binny and Ashwin.
Kohli capped off a battling win for India with two sixes off Mendis in the 49th over to also finish unbeaten on 139 . The result was harsh on Sri Lanka who suffered a 5-0 loss for the first time. For Angelo Matthews in particular his man of the match performance proved to be in the vain.