India-Lanka match called off

Persistent rain ruined an intriguing second match in the tri-series when the game between India and Sri Lanka at the Gabba was abandoned.

updated: February 08, 2008 11:05 IST
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For the second straight game in three days, rain cut short a resurgent India in their tracks.

At the Gabba, Brisbane, after Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni's massive course-correcting act of a 184 runs took India to respectability, down came the rain before Sri Lanka could play even a ball to chase their 268-run target.

After several inspections, play was called off around 1530 pm IST (2000 local time). India now head the points table with four points from two games. On two points each are Sri Lanka and Australia.

Gambhir, Dhoni shine

After India had four wickets in a heap, Gambhir and Dhoni put India on track. The two covered the hard yards, ran the furious singles and frantic twos, and snitched the odd boundary.

Gambhir (101 not out, 100 balls, 10 fours, 1 six) reached his third ODI ton. He was dropped by Kumar Sangakkara on 11. But in less-than-ideal batting conditions, against Vaas, Muralitharan and Malinga, with the team in trouble, Gambhir counter-attacked to play his best innings yet in ODIs.

His partner, captain Dhoni (88 not out, 95 balls, 5 fours, 1 six) began in desperate need of runs for the team, for himself. Beginning unsteadily, he gained momentum to reach his first fifty in ten international outings on this tour.

After the flow, the ebb

India, opting to bat first on a sticky wicket, got off to an assured start. Openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar put on 68 in swift time. Sehwag looked in the mood, smashing Chaminda Vaas across the line over wide mid-on for six.

But the two departed in quick succession. Tendulkar, having become the first batsman in ODI history to complete 16,000 runs, played on to Lasith Malinga.

Sehwag threw the kitchen sink at a short ball down the leg, only to tickle it to Sangakkara, who didn t miss it.

Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene sensed an opportunity. He brought on Muttiah Muralitharan to attack the left-handers at the crease, Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh, making a comeback after a knee injury.

The move paid off. Yuvraj edged one to first slip off Murali's third ball. Two balls later, the right-handed Rohit Sharma prodded at a doosra. Lanka appealed for a caught behind. Rudi Koertzen thought about it for a week and gave Sharma out. Replays suggested Koertzen had not got it right.

The resurrection

Gambhir and Dhoni, both, struggled to read Muralitharan initially. But then Gambhir then cut loose, a drive through extra cover and a pull through midwicket off Murali taking him past fifty.

He repeated those shots again, this time off Malinga, to move from 92 to 100. Dhoni too was at his enterprising best, cutting, pulling, whipping even reverse-sweeping to his highest score of the tour.