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.

Injured Yuvraj Singh likely to miss first ODI

yuvrajIndian batsman Yuvraj Singh’s participation in the opening match of the ODI series against Sri Lanka is in doubt after he complained of pain in his little finger on the left hand while fielding during the second Twenty20 in Mohali on Saturday. A final decision will be taken on Monday, the eve of the match in Rajkot.

“The team management will give every possible opportunity to Yuvraj play the first ODI but the final call would be taken only tomorrow,” a team source said, adding that it could take upto three weeks for him to recover, effectively ruling him out of the five-match series.

All-round Yuvraj Singh helps India draw level

yuvrajYuvraj Singh gave himself a 28th birthday present with three wickets and a witheringly powerful half-century as India became only the second team to successfully chase more than 200 in a Twenty20 international. Kumar Sangakkara’s dazzling 31-ball 59 had been the foundation of Sri Lanka’s imposing 206 for 7, but with Virender Sehwag clearing the ropes with ease during his 64 off 36 balls and MS Dhoni contributed a rapid 46, India eased home with five balls to spare. In the process, they recorded the highest chase, surpassing South Africa’s 208 against West Indies in the 2007 ICC World Twenty20.

India ask South Africa to play two Tests

sewagWidespread fears over the future of Test cricket have been partly assuaged by the news that the BCCI has asked South Africa to play two Tests in India during their tour early next year, dropping two one-day internationals from the schedule to make space for the five-day matches.

India’s change of mind - the tour was just going to comprise seven ODIs before being cut to five - came about after they ascended to the ICC’s No. 1 ranking in Tests for the first time. Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola confirmed the request and said they were now trying to make space for the Tests, which would lengthen the tour by a week.

Sloppy India aim to arrest slide

indiaMatch facts

Saturday, December 12
Start time 17.30 (12:00 GMT)

Big Picture

The ICC World Twenty20 win, and the subsequent celebrations that riled Andrew Symonds so, seems like it belonged to another age. Though it set in motion the events that led to the creation of the IPL, India’s form in the international arena has been dire. Wednesday’s thrashing at Nagpur was their fourth loss in succession, and you have to go back nearly a year to their last victory against a major side. The Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf, denied Sri Lanka then, and it will need similar strength of will from the middle and lower order to ensure that the team’s alarming slide in the game’s most abbreviated format is arrested.

Kumar Sangakkara powers Sri Lanka to victory

kumarKumar Sangakkara starred with his highest Twenty20 score, a serenely-destructive 37-ball 78, as Sri Lanka thumped India by 29 runs in Nagpur. Chamara Kapugedera pitched in with a cameo to charge Sri Lanka to 215, a total that proved too much for India, who fell away after a promising start provided by Gautam Gambhir.

Gambhir tried valiantly with a counter-attacking fifty but it was Sangakkara who stole the show. He played only one dot ball till reached his fifty - from 21 deliveries, the quickest for Sri Lanka - but it wasn’t a conventional Twenty20 knock in which the batsman goes hell for leather. There weren’t many ugly swipes or heaves and anything unconventional was designed with the field in mind.

Sri Lanka aim to put Test thrashing behind them

kumarMatch facts

Wednesday, December 9
Start time 17.30 (12:00 GMT)

Big picture

It would be easy, in the immediate aftermath of India’s comprehensive Test series victory, to bill the hosts as favourites to win the two Twenty20 internationals against Sri Lanka. It would also be presumptuous because there are significant changes in personnel and the format is one in which India have struggled since the delirious high of World Twenty20 glory in 2007.

India’s spell at the top not in their hands

indiaIronically, India have risen to the top in a format some would accuse them of neglecting - and their low frequency of Tests could cause them to lose their crown sooner rather than later. They are only the third team, after Australia and South Africa, to reach the summit of the ICC’s Test rankings since they were introduced in 2001 but their time there could be brief because of a schedule that contains only two Tests in the next 11 months.

Absence of review system hurt us - Sangakkara

kumarKumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka’s captain, has lamented the absence of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the Test series against India, which he said cost Sri Lanka “over 500 runs”. The UDRS - or lack of it - once again figured prominently at the media conference after India beat Sri Lanka by an innings to become the top-ranked Test team, with Sangakkara saying that the three-match contest was the best advertisement for having the review system.

India go top with thumping victory

sewagSri Lanka may have thwarted India through the fourth day, but Zaheer Khan sliced through the remaining four wickets to take India to a 2-0 series win and the No. 1 spot in the ICC rankings. Zaheer started with a ripper in the first over to get rid of Kumar Sangakkara and finished his best performance of the series with his eighth five-wicket haul. This was the third time in the last four years that India had won two matches in a row; two of those braces came against Sri Lanka.