Sri Lanka lift Indian Oil Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sri Lanka has won the final of the Indian Oil Cup tri-series by defeating India by 18 runs at Dambulla today.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Sri Lanka has won the final of the Indian Oil Cup tri-series by defeating India by 18 runs at Colombo today. Chasing 282 for victory, India managed only 263 for nine in the allotted 50 overs. A new captain in Rahul Dravid and a new coach in Greg Chappell made no difference to India's fortunes as the side slumped once more in the final of a major tournament. The Indians had themselves to blame for the defeat as they were cruising along comfortably at 186 for two before Yuvraj Singh's dismissal turned the tide in favour of the hosts. Once Sri Lanka made 281 for nine in 50 overs, it was never going to be easy for India. The loss was India's third in succession against Sri Lanka in the series having lost both the league matches at Dambulla last week. Mahela Jayawardene was adjudged both the man of the match and man of the series. Sehwag on a roll The Indian batting collapsed disastrously on the back of an all-round performance by the Lankans. The Indians set off for the target in great style when Virender Sehwag clobbered the Sri Lankan bowlers and raised 62 runs for the first wicket in only 6.2 overs. Sehwag was particularly harsh on Lokuhettige whom he punished for 26 runs in one over which included five fours and a six. But he then played on Chaminda Vaas on to his stumps to waste a great chance of building an innings and keeping India in the hunt. His quick fire 22-ball 48 consisted of nine fours and one six. Sourav Ganguly was the next to go after being trapped leg before wicket by Tilakratne Dilshan for 26 in the 16th over, leaving India at 102 for two. Vital partnership Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh then steadied the Indian innings, adding 84 runs for the third wicket. The partnership was broken in the 36th over when Yuvraj was caught by Dilhara Lokuhettige off Upul Chandana's bowling for 42. Dravid also did not last long. He was run out in the 39th over for 69. Upul Chandna picked up his second wicket when he had wicketkeeper M S Dhoni trapped leg before wicket for just seven. Irfan Pathan too couldn't stay at the crease for long and was clean bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan for just one run. Mohammad Kaif scored a valiant 31 before he was caught by Atapattu off a Chaminda Vaas delivery. Blistering start Earlier, the Lankans won the toss and elected to bat first. The hosts got off to a blistering start with captain Marvan Atapattu and Jayasuriya hitting the Indian bowlers at will. But Ashish Nehra, who finished with six for 59, stepped up the attack. He got the first breakthrough as he bowled Atapattu (11) with a brilliant delivery in the sixth over. Then Nehra dealt another blow and the new man at the crease, Dilhara Lokuhettige (9) was declared leg before wicket. Jayasuriya shines Jayasuriya (67) was once again the tormentor for the Indians. He was dropped on 19 and 28 off Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan but his dominating presence set Sri Lanka on course for a big total. Soon after Lokuhettige's dismissal, Jayasuriya was joined by Kumara Sangakkara at the crease. But Nehra struck a third time, and this time he got Sangakkara (6) caught by Virender Sehwag. Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene then added 56 runs for the fourth wicket before the former was run out in the 26th over. He scored 67 runs off 77 balls and completed 10,000 one-day runs. Jayasuriya first neutralised the Anil Kumble factor by slamming him for three fours in an over and racing to his half century from 61 balls with eight boundaries. His dismissal at 122 for four gave India a sniff of a chance to apply the brakes but then Jayawardene and Arnold stayed till the 46th over to completely demoralise the visitors. Explosive batting Jayawardene and Russel Arnold then displayed some explosive batting to steer their team towards a big total. The 125-run partnership between the two was broken in the 46th over when Nehra had Jayawardene caught by Mohammad Kaif for 83. Arnold was sent back to the pavilion in the next over, run out for 64 off 63 balls. Nehra then added two more wickets to his kitty, sending back Tilakratne Dilshan and Upul Chandana in quick succession. A last over flurry by Chaminda Vaas, who scored 18 off nine balls, helped the Lankans reach 281 for nine. (With PTI inputs)

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