Sri Lanka win Asia Cup

Sri Lanka have won the Indian Oil Asia Cup cricket tournament, defeating India by 25 runs in the final in Colombo today.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Sri Lanka have won the Indian Oil Asia Cup cricket tournament, defeating India by 25 runs in the final in Colombo today. Marvan Atapattu was declared the Man of the Match and Sanath Jayasuriya was named Man of the Series. This is the third time Sri Lanka has won the Asia Cup. Chasing a target of 229 to win, India's famed batting order came to naught as most of the batsmen failed to withstand the Lankan onslaught. Sachin Tendulkar (74) was the highest scorer and tailender Zaheer Khan put up a last-minute battle scoring 28 off 24 balls, but that wasn't enough to propel the score towards the target. At the end of 50 overs, India could score only 203 runs. Upul Chandana was the star Lankan bowler, picking up 3 wickets for 33. Nuwan Zoysa and Chaminda Vaas also posted impressive figures picking up a wicket each. Batsmen topple Earlier, India restricted Sri Lanka to 228 for 9 in 50 overs, but the Indian batsmen never could settle down to score the runs. Chaminda Vaas claimed Virender Sehwag leg before in the third over of the innings, and then skipper Sourav Ganguly was caught by Jayawardene off a Nuwan Zoysa delivery. Sachin Tendulkar with VVS Laxman tried to steady the innings but the run rate slipped and then in the 20th over, Sanath Jayasuriya got Laxman's wicket, caught by Dilshan. Rahul Dravid, the new man at the crease, did not last long and was caught on the slips again by Dilshan off Upul Chandana. For once, it seemed like Yuvraj Singh would score a good partnership with Sachin, but he managed to score only 8 facing 29 deliveries, before being bowled by Chandana. Mohammad Kaif also scripted a similar story and was caught by Jayawardene off a Chandana for 5. Then Dilshan got the prize wicket, bowling Tendulkar for 74. Irfan Pathan was run out while Harbhajan Singh was stumped off a Jayasuriya delivery. Atapattu leads Electing to bat, Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu cracked 65 off 87 balls with eight fours and added 116 runs for the third wicket with wicketkeeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara who made 53 off 82 balls with six fours. The two resurrected the Lankan innings after the early loss of the openers Sanath Jayasuriya (15) and Avishaka Gunawardene (8). But the Indians struck back, and the Sri Lankan lower order crumbled as the Indian bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals. Early breakthrough Seamers Irfan Pathan and Ashish Nehra got the early breakthroughs with Pathan drawing first blood in the 7th over, claiming Jayasuriya (15) leg before. Then in the next over, Avishka Gunawardene (8) lobbed the ball to Sourav Ganguly's hands off a Ashish Nehra delivery. Atapattu and Sangakara looked dangerous at the crease, piling up 116 runs amongst them. Sehwag, Sachin strike Finally, it was Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar who put the pressure on the Lankans who lost four quick wickets. Sehwag first bowled Sangakara (53) in the 33rd over and then Sachin Tendulkar got Mahela Jayawardene's wicket in the very next over, caught by Yuvraj Singh. Sehwag struck a second time in the 40th over, this time running out Atapattu (65). Tendulkar then struck again, with Dilshan getting stumped by Rahul Dravid. Wickets tumble Harbhajan Singh picked up the seventh wicket, claiming Upal Chandana leg before, and a mix up in the 47th over resulted in Maharoof being run out. Chaminda Vaas was the next one to go, who was caught by Yuvraj while trying to hit Pathan. The hosts were bolstered by the return of strike bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas who missed the last game against India. And though India restricted the hosts to a low score, the world's best batting side failed to deliver on the day when they were required to do the most.