Sri Lanka cruise to nine-wicket win
Sri Lanka romped to a massive nine-wicket win over India at Hambantota on Tuesday, leveling the series thanks to superb bowling from Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews.
India could only manage 138 all out, with more than 15 overs remaining in their innings, before Upul Tharanga (59 not out) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (50) made light work of the target in under 20 overs.
After winning the first match by 21 runs, India won the toss and chose to bat first, clearly assuming their form would continue. But they were sadly mistaken, as Perera destroyed the top order with three wicket-maidens in a row that left them reeling on 41 for four.
Perera, who made a big impact in the series against Pakistan, took a magnificent catch off his own bowling to take the wicket of Virender Sehwag with the score on 31. He followed that up with Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina's scalps, and could have had four if Mathews hadn't dropped an easy offered by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Once the Indian back was broken, they couldn't recover, despite a valiant 65 from Gautam Gambhir, who was the final wicket to fall, just as he looked to become the first Indian to carry his bat in an ODI. That accolade would have meant nothing to him, though, as his team did nothing to help him.
Only Ravichandran Ashwin added a decent score to the total, making 21 at the death, while most of the other batsmen fell in single figures. Mathews accounted for Rohit Sharma, Dhoni and Pragyan Ojha's wickets, while Lasith Malinga bagged two victims.
Sri Lanka's reply was fierce and rapid, with the dinner break interrupting proceedings after nine overs. The score was on 64 for naught at that point, and Zaheer Khan was especially poor, giving away a number of wides and going at 6.5 an over.
Dilshan would have been gutted to get out with only 20 runs to go, as he tried to sweep Ashwin and instead gloved it in the air for Dhoni to catch. Dinesh Chandimal came to see the innings out, and got the winning runs with a nifty boundary.
The next match is on Saturday in Colombo, and India will be eager to find some consistency after two wildly different performances. On the plus side, the series is very much alive, which promises some exciting times for the fans.