Yuvraj Singh ruled out of series

yuvrajIndian batsman Yuvraj Singh has been ruled out of the ongoing one-day international series against Sri Lanka because of a finger injury. Yuvraj had picked up the injury while fielding during the second Twenty20 in Mohali and was subsequently unavailable for the first two ODIs.

He has been advised rest for the next two matches of the ODI series after aggravating the worrisome finger and his participation in the forthcoming tri-series in Bangladesh remains in doubt. Yuvraj returned to the starting XI for the third ODI in Cuttack yesterday and scored 23 from 40 balls as India took a 2-1 lead in the five-match contest.

Tendulkar and Jadeja give India 2-1 lead

sachinAfter Virender Sehwag had bludgeoned 44 from just 28 balls, an unhurried and unbeaten 96 from Sachin Tendulkar took India to a facile victory that gave them a 2-1 lead in this five-match series. Sri Lanka had dominated the early stages of the match, galloping to 165 for 1 from 22.2 overs but they then subsided in bizarre fashion, undone by a combination of Ravindra Jadeja’s spin, poor shot selection and two wickets in two balls from Ishant Sharma, who had gone for 46 in his first three overs. They lost the remaining nine wickets for 74 runs and slumped to 239 all out, which India eased past with 44 balls to spare.

Instigators not punished enough - Anil Kumble

bannAnil Kumble the former India captain, has said the ICC’s match referees don’t seem to punish the instigators of on-field spats severely enough. He feels that too often the provocateurs escape with a light censure while players who react strongly are penalised severely.

Kumble expressed his views in his syndicated column after the completion of the Perth Test, during which three Australian players were fined while West Indian spinner Sulieman Benn was banned for two one-day internationals by match referee Chris Broad. Benn, Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin were involved in an ugly incident on the second day of the Test, which led to Benn’s ban and Haddin and Johnson being fined 25% and 10% of their respective match fees.

Key players ruled out as teams start afresh

nuwanMatch facts

Monday, December 21
Start time 14:30 (09:00 GMT)

Big Picture

The build-up to this game has been dominated by the two-match ban handed down to MS Dhoni for India’s appallingly slow over-rate in Nagpur. With Dhoni out of the fray, Sri Lanka’s own woes have been obscured. Angelo Mathews, who clinched victory in Nagpur, is the latest to join the incapacitated list, with Thissara Perera flying in to take his place, and it’s still uncertain whether Lasith Malinga will be risked after missing the first two games. The missing-in-action theme has affected India too, though Yuvraj Singh is expected to be fit to shore up a middle order that will sorely miss Dhoni’s remarkable consistency.

MS Dhoni banned for two ODIs

dhoniIndia’s captain, has been banned for two ODIs because India maintained slow over-rate during the second match against Sri Lanka in Nagpur. The penalty is more severe than the usual monetary fines because India were found to be three overs short, which comes under the “serious over-rate offence” category. The ban is effective immediately, which means Dhoni will be unavailable for the games in Cuttack and Kolkata, returning only for the final ODI in Delhi. Virender Sehwag will captain the side in his absence.

Dilshan, Mathews help Sri Lanka draw level

dilshanThe second humdinger between these two teams this week ran the gamut from wonderful to what-the-heck as runs and wickets flowed in equal measure in good batting conditions. Sri Lanka leveled the series with a three-wicket win in a match defined by two individual innings, contrasting in style and strength, at either end of a collapse that threatened to give India the advantage and a 2-0 lead.

With another evening of thrilling batting, Tillakaratne Dilshan proved right every single reason behind Sri Lanka’s decision in January to open the innings with him permanently. Dilshan’s fifth one-day century, and second in a row, was the dominant force in Sri Lanka clinching this win but it so nearly ended up in another lost cause, if not for Angelo Mathews.

India hold the edge on run-friendly pitch

sewagMatch facts

Friday, December 18
Start time 14:30 (09:00 GMT)

Big Picture

The bowlers will head into Nagpur with the Rajkot run fest on their minds, but they won’t get much relief from another hard track at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium. India have the momentum and victory in Nagpur will give them a formidable 2-0 lead in the five-match series. Making it worse for Sri Lanka is the fact that they are down two bowlers. Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando have been ruled out for the series, meaning the visitors have two fresh faces, both potential debutants, which will not help a side aiming to level the series. It will take a huge effort for them to turn the tide their way on this surface.

Murali and Fernando out of ODI series

muraliSri Lanka’s hopes of coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the ODI series against India have taken a hit with Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando being ruled out of the remaining four games because of finger injuries. Mulalitharan picked up his injury during the final Test in Mumbai as a result of which he missed the two Twenty20 matches as well as the first ODI in Rajkot. Fernando did not play in the Tests, but figured in the shorter formats and hurt his finger while attempting a return catch from MS Dhoni in Rajkot.

Pakistan keen on playing home series in India

ijazzThe cash-strapped Pakistan Cricket Board is exploring the possibility of playing its ‘home’ series in India, if the BCCI and the Indian government approve of the notion. The PCB chairman Ijaz Butt has said that if the BCCI is willing to reschedule the tour of Pakistan, which was cancelled in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks last November, Pakistan won’t mind playing that series in India.

India clinch high-scoring humdinger

sewagThe numbers were mindboggling enough. Virender Sehwag and Tillakaratne Dilshan made big hundreds at a frantic lick, but the innings of the match was Kumar Sangakkara’s 90 from 43 balls.

The decisive spells were bowled by Harbhajan Singh, whose three overs in the middle had gone for 32 runs, and Zaheer Khan, who finished with the most expensive analysis in India’s one-day history. At the end of it all, after 100 overs in which 825 runs were scored, Sri Lanka’s lion cubs couldn’t quite hold their nerve. Ashish Nehra did, and India crept home by three runs.