India thump Lanka, enter Asia Cup final

Updated: 05 July 2008 15:43 IST

India chased down Sri Lanka's 308 in style, winning with overs to spare. They will now play again, in the Asia Cup final on Sunday.

New Delhi:

In a contest where bowlers and fielders on both sides looked pedestrian, India came off looking better and, with it, entered the final of the Asia Cup.

Sri Lanka cashed in on India's fielding lapses and toothless bowling to make 308-8 after batting first. But their own bowling lacked depth, and India needed just 46.5 overs to finish off the chase and win by six wickets at the National Stadium in Karachi.

With it, Pakistan have been knocked out and for the sixth time since 1988, it would be an India-Sri Lanka Asia Cup final.

India's chase was led, first by another scorching pace-setting partnership between Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, then controlled ably by Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni.

Sehwag pushed his luck often, and was lucky to survive a couple of run out chances. He made 42 (34 balls, 6x4, 1x6) before giving away his wicket in careless fashion - with a poorly timed scoop to short fine leg. The opening partnership yielded 92 in 11.4 overs.

Gambhir (68, 61 balls, 11x4) batted in typically aggressive fashion, reaching his second fifty of the tournament. He became Muttiah Muralitharan's first victim of the night, trapped LBW.

Dhoni (67, 62 balls, 5x4, 1x6) added 99 runs with Raina (54, 66 balls, 3x4).

Raina was run out going for a tough second run, while Dhoni missed the line of a Murali delivery.

The wicket offered no help to the bowlers, and India exploited Sri Lanka's inexperienced bowlers to the hilt.

Even as Dhoni and Raina fell in quick succession, Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma knocked off the remaining 56 runs with ease since the required run rate was well with in the reach.

Earlier, Sri Lanka cashed in on another poor effort on the field from India. India have now conceded 300 or more three times in their last four Asia Cup matches.

India's bowling lacked bite while several misfields hurt their case further. There were meaty contributions all round from Sri Lanka's batsmen.

After Sanath Jayasuriya set the tone with a 37-ball 43 with eight fours, their captain, Mahela Jayawardene joined in with 50 (63 balls, 4x4) while Chamara Kapugedera made 75 (78 balls, 7x4, 1x6).

Chamara Silva capped the innings with 50 (56 balls, 2x4, 1x6).

India made a good beginning by sending back Kumar Sangakkara, who has made three centuries so far in the tournament.

The opening batsman made 7 (10 balls, 1x4) before miscuing a pull off Ishant Sharma behind to India captain M.S. Dhoni.

Jayasuriya fell in similar fashion, to the same bowler.

Jayawardene, who found himself in sublime touch stroking the ball beautifully, mistimed a loft and holed out to long off, just after reaching his 50.

Kapugedera, who looked good for a century, was caught adjacent by a straight ball from Praveen Kumar.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (15, 19 balls, 2x4) mistimed a pull shot off a long-hop from Pathan, and R.P Singh timed his jump to perfection at the long leg boundary to take the catch.

Silva had scored his 50th run and was running back to the striker's end for his 51st, when he was run out by a flat throw from R.P. Singh at thirdman.

R.P. then took his first wicket of the innings in the 49th over when the left-handed Kaushalya Weeraratne holed out to long-on.

The left-arm seamer was India's most economical bowler on the day, with figures of 10-0-44-1.

Topics : Cricket
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