AHMEDABAD - On the eve of their second game at Ahmedabad, Tillakaratne Dilshan had explained how a total in the region of 280-300 had become a norm in 50-over cricket, especially after the new field restrictions were put in place.

His words were almost prophetic as after being restricted to 274, Sri Lanka weren’t able to control a rampaging Indian batting order that finished off the job with six wickets in hand and 5.3 overs to spare, going 2-0 up in the five-match series and moving ever so close towards taking an unassailable lead.

The pre-match buzz centred mostly around local lad Akshar Patel’s first international match at his home ground, but even as he impressed with his accurate left-arm spin in the middle overs to stifle Sri Lanka, Ambati Rayudu walked away with the honours near his adopted home - Baroda - where he plays his domestic cricket. He has mostly been confined to a back-up role in a star-studded line-up, but has made the most of the limited opportunities he has had so far, and returning not out on 121* (118b, 10x4, 4x6) after setting up the chase would have been doubly satisfying.  India went into the game with three spinners on a Motera surface that looked like it would assist the medium pacers more, but Virat Kohli’s ploy worked wonders as Sri Lanka were kept to 274 for 8 in the day/night fixture. The visitors put in a better batting effort as compared to Cuttack, but Angelo Mathews - whose 92* (101b, 10x4, 1x6) added some solidity to the total - would have been kicking himself for not capitalizing on what looked like a good toss to win.

India’s run chase wasn’t perfect in any way after Ajinkya Rahane was removed by Dhammika Prasad in the seventh over for 8, caught brilliantly by Mahela Jayawardene at slip on rebound after wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara had spilled a regulation chance. To their credit, Sri Lanka’s pacers began well and Lahiru Gamage could have had Dhawan for 10 in the eighth over when the umpire turned down a frantic appeal for caught behind.

Promoted to No 3, Rayudu, along with Shikhar Dhawan consolidated for long periods before laying into the change bowlers, and Dhawan took the lead after reaching his seventh ODI half-century. As Dhawan accelerated by taking 16 off a Thisara Perera over, Rayudu continued to play the accumulator, and wasn’t until the left-hander holed out to deep square leg off Seekkuge Prasanna for 79 (80b, 7x4, 1x6) did Rayudu decide to step it up.

Rayudu was particularly impressive against Sri Lanka’s spinners, nimble on his feet as he took boundaries and sixes off them with ease, and exercised restraint when the bowlers were on top. After adding 122 with Dhawan, Rayudu combined with Virat Kohli to add 116 more as the asking rate dropped significantly. Kohli (49, 44b, 2x4, 2x6) and Suresh Raina (14, 6b, 1x4, 1x6) fell in quick succession to Prasanna (3/53) towards the end, but Rayudu ensured India closed the chase without much drama.

Mathews’ innings in the afternoon had turned out to be pivotal, as with Kumar Sangakkara (61, 86b, 4x4) they added 90 vital runs that revived Sri Lanka’s innings after being reduced to 64 for 3 in the 14th over. But unlike India who had decided to take their batting Powerplay early at Cuttack, Mathews and Sangakkara held back and only chose to go for it in the 32nd over, and lost three wickets during that period, losing Sangakkara, Prasanna and Ashan Priyanjan while adding just 30.

Umesh Yadav, who had begun with the wicket of Kusal Perera in the very first over of the innings, returned to break the threatening stand when Sangakkara smacked a full toss straight to Dhawan’s at long on, while Akshar Patel delivered another impressive spell of 2/39 in front of cheering home fans. Ravindra Jadeja, who was included in place of the injured Varun Aaron, went for plenty (1/64) but R Ashwin (2/49) and Patel ensured the wickets continued to tumble.

Yadav and Ishant Sharma bowled a tidy opening spell and kept things tight until Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sangakkara stuck up a breezy partnership, and Dilshan somewhat broke the shackles by belting four consecutive boundaries in Ashwin’s first over. But Patel struck with the second ball of his spell when he bowled Dilshan in the next over, and Mahela Jayawardene could only muster 4 before scooping one straight to midwicket off Ashwin. Sri Lanka’s stuttering innings was revived by Mathews and Dhammika Prasad (30*, 28b, 4x4) towards the end, as the pair put on 54 for the ninth wicket and played out their full quota of overs.



K Perera lbw b U Yadav    0

T Dilshan b A Patel    35

K Sangakkara c Dhawan b U Yadav    61

M Jayawardene c Rayudu b Ashwin    4

A Mathews not out    92

S Prasanna c Rayudu b Jadeja    13

A Priyanjan run out    1

T Perera b A Patel    10

S Randiv b Ashwin    10

D Prasad not out    30

EXTRAS: (lb-10 nb-2 w-6)    18

TOTAL: (for 8 wickets, 50 overs)    274

FOW: 1-4, 2-55, 3-64, 4-154, 5-177, 6-179, 7-205, 8-220

BOWLING: U Yadav 10-1-54-2, I Sharma 10-0-58-0, R Ashwin 10-1-49-2, A Patel 10-1-39-2, R Jadeja 10-0-64-1.


A Rahane c M Jayawardene b Prasad    8

S Dhawan c Priyanjan b Prasanna    79

A Rayudu not out    121

V Kohli c Randiv b Prasanna    49

S Raina lbw b Prasanna    14

R Jadeja not out    1

EXTRAS: (lb-1 nb-1 w-1)    3

TOTAL: (for 4 wickets, 44.3 overs)    275

FOW: 1-18, 2-140, 3-256, 4-270

BOWLING: A Mathews 4-0-18-0, L Gamage 8-1-28-0, D Prasad 7-0-51-1, T Perera 4-0-35-0, S Randiv 10-0-66-0, T Dilshan 2-0-9-0, S Prasanna 7.3-0-53-3, A Priyanjan 2-0-14-0.

UMPIRE: Vineet Kulkarni, Bruce Oxenford

TV UMPIRE: Chettithody Shamsuddin