The big guns failed to blaze or didn’t have enough fire power to quell the challenge thrown by Sri Lanka at India in the fifth and final ODI at R Premdasa stadium in Colombo on Sunday.In the process, India lost the newly acquired Number 2 position to Australia who beat New Zealand by 32 runs at the SCG in Sydney the same day.
Both India and New Zealand were set a 300 plus target and while the latter fought back through a valiant 115 by Grant Elliot but fell short by 32 runs, India lost wickets early in the innings chasing 322 to end up 68 behind Lanka. However, India won the series 4-1 and Australia is trailing New Zealand 2-1.
Sri Lanka was propelled to 320 by a 143-runs second wicket partnership between Dilshan and Sangakara who made 97 and 84 respectively. Thereafter a brief collapse threatened Lanka innings but Mahroof (32) and Thusara (11) and Kulasekhra (10) steadied the boat for Lanka. Except for Dhoni and Gambhir , the entire Indian team bowled to restrict Lanka but in vain and in reply only three batsmen Yuvraj (73), debutant R Jadeja (60 not out) and skipper Dhoni scored half centuries while others failed to make match of it.
Indian Coach Gary Kirstein declared yesterday that his main aim this year is to take India to the top position.
“Getting to number one is the obvious goal this year, but you just can’t think you have won the series 4-0 and be complacent in the next game.
“It doesn’t happen with us. When you go onto the field you go to win and not just compete. Great teams are those that carry the momentum forward into every game,” Kirsten said.
Australia asked Haddin open the innings with Clarke and for the first time in six matches notched a hundred runs opening partnership. Just a ball before Clarke was out at the score of 135 there was no extra run with Clarke contributing 64 and Haddin 70. A record of sort.
Mike Hussey’s 38 ball 51 propelled Australia to go just past the 300 mark setting New Zealand a target of 302.
The hosts appeared set for a comfortable victory at the fall of Tim Southee’s wicket in the 37th over, but a brilliant partnership of 69 from 49 deliveries between Grant Elliott, who struck 115 from 124 balls, and the injured Brendon McCullum (36 from 27) raised hopes of a stunning upset. McCullum, playing with the assistance of a pain-killing injection after hurting his shoulder in the field, punished Nathan Bracken from the uncustomary position of No. 9, while Elliott adopted a more measured approach in compiling his maiden limited-overs hundred.
Elliott, however, holed out to Michael Hussey off the bowling of James Hopes in the 45th over to effectively end New Zealand’s surge. McCullum followed in bizarre circumstances – his bat flying to midwicket, the ball to wide mid-off – and Jeetan Patel fell with 15 balls remaining to seal a 32-run victory for Australia that ended an inglorious five-game losing streak.