ICC Champions Trophy

India restrict Sri Lanka

2013-06-20 16:24
MS Dhoni and Mahela Jaywardene (Getty Images)
Cardiff - India have delivered a disciplined bowling performance to restrict Sri Lanka to 181-8 in the Champions League semi-finals on Thursday, leaving the world champions in a great position to clinch a place in the final against England.

Only captain Angelo Mathews rose above the mediocrity for Sri Lanka with a defiant 51, having come to the middle with his team on 41-3 after 18 overs and with opener Tillakaratne Dilshan having hobbled off with an apparent calf injury.

India's pacemen excelled in damp, overcast conditions in south Wales that were ideal for seam bowling. Ishant Sharma removed three batsmen, including danger man Kumar Sangakkara (17), while Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 1-18 off his nine overs. Left-arm slow bowler Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 3-48.

Tournament host England awaits the winner after beating South Africa by seven wickets at The Oval on Wednesday in the first semi-final match.

The Indians are attempting to add the Champions Trophy to its World Cup title, achieved in 2011 with a victory over Sri Lanka. On that occasion, they had to chase 275 in Mumbai but a superb exhibition of pace bowling from Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Sharma and slip-fielding by Suresh Raina early on ensured the target was much lower here.

Winning the toss was key, allowing India's pacemen the opportunity to exploit the conditions after a wet start to the day had held up play by 30 minutes at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. Kumar, man of the match against Pakistan on Saturday, took immediate advantage, enticing an edge to Raina at second slip from Kusel Perera (4) off his 10th ball.

Sharma joined the attack as first change and, with the ball still jagging around, took the wickets of Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne (7), both departing after low, diving catches by Raina.

In between times, Dilshan had to be helped off the pitch after receiving treatment on an apparent right calf problem. He was hurt after hitting a sweet boundary in the fourth over to take him to 12. The opener had attempted to continue but was unable to run freely between the wickets and couldn't call for a runner, with current ICC laws outlawing their use.

Effectively, that left Sri Lanka 41-4 and in serious trouble, but a 78-run stand between Jayawardene and Mathews at least steadied the innings and has given the team an outside chance of winning.

Ravindra Jadeja, who gave up just 33 runs in his 10 overs, bowled Jayawardene in the 37th over to keep Sri Lanka pinned down.

The limping Dilshan returned in the next-to-last over after Mathews, Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara all departed in the space of 12 balls, but could only add six more runs.

The final over was marred by two spectators invading the field of play — one running across the eyeline of Rohit Sharma as he missed an attempted catch off Lasith Malinga.


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