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06 November 201423:38

Resplendent Rayudu muscles India home

Batsman's maiden ODI ton consigns Sri Lanka to heavy defeat as hosts open up 2-0 advantage

Resplendent Rayudu muscles India home - Cricket News

India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets.

India handed Sri Lanka a six wicket drubbing in the second One-Day International at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad on Thursday (November 6).

Ambati Rayudu was promoted to No. 3 and smashed his maiden ODI century to help India chase down the 275-run target with 33 balls to spare. Angelo Mathews (92 not out) and Kumar Sangakkara (61) had helped Sri Lanka post a competitive 274 for 8, but Rayudu (121 not out), Shikhar Dhawan (79) and Kohli (49) made light work of the target as India surged to 275 for 4 with 33 deliveries to spare.

Rayudu made the most of his promotion, pacing his knock wonderfully. He was prepared to go through some testing spells and once he settled in, played some exquisite strokes. Rayudu's footwork in particular was impressive - he danced down the wicket and lofted the spinners in the 'V' almost effortlessly. When the pacers bowled short , he was on to the back foot in a jiffy to either cut, punch or pull.

He also stitched two vital partnerships - 122 with Dhawan and 116 with Kohli - and remained unbeaten to see his side through. Fittingly, he finished the match with an inside-out lofted shot to the cover boundary.

Rayudu's knock gave India a comfortable win, but things hadn’t been too easy in the beginning. India got off to a sedate start as Ajinkya Rahane and Dhawan struggled against disciplined bowling from Sri Lanka's pacers.

Mathews, who opened the attack, and Lahiru Gamage used the help from the unusually green Ahmedabad track extremely well. But it was Dhammika Prasad who benefited when Rahane lost patience and edged a loose drive in the seventh over. The ball ricocheted off Sangakkara, but an alert Mahela Jayawardene at slip took the catch to dismiss Rahane for 8.

When Sangakkara, who had put down both Rahane and Dhawan in the previous game, finally caught one in the next over, Bruce Oxenford failed to spot the edge Gamage had induced off Dhawan’s bat. Only 10 when the umpire turned down the appeal much to the dismay of the Sri Lankans, Dhawan would go on to make the most of the reprieve.

Sri Lanka's bowlers were in the midst of a testing spell and Gamage in particular was impressive, conceding just 13 runs from his first five overs. Dhawan and Rayudu survived that phase and although India scored just 51 runs in the first 15 overs, there were wickets in hand.

With a partnership building and Sri Lanka operating with spin, the momentum gradually started shifting towards the Indian camp. Rayudu broke the shackles by smashing Suraj Randiv for a six over long-on in the 17th over, and two overs later, the duo plundered 13 runs from Seekkuge Prasanna's first over. Mathews returned to pace in the form of Prasad and Thisara Perera, but Dhawan was now in a space where it didn't matter who was bowling. He pulled Prasad to the boundary to bring up his 10th ODI fifty and in the next over, stepped out to smash Perera for a six over long-off. That audacious stroke was followed by two cheeky fours either side of the wicket.

Rayudu operated in singles and picked up the odd boundary. The partnership was burgeoning and India had scored 82 runs in 10 overs after the 16th over when Dhawan eventually died by the sword, slogging Prasanna to deep square-leg and ending a second wicket stand of 122 from 121 balls.

Rayudu ensured that there were no further hiccups, taking control of the chase. He was well assisted by Kohli, who did what he usually does against Sri Lanka. The duo scored at will and dented the heart of Sri Lanka's attack with a 116-run stand for the third wicket. In the process, Rayudu got to his century with a flick to deep square-leg off Perera in the 38th over. Kohli fell to Randiv one short of his half-century, but the chase was a mere formality by then.

Earlier, after opting to bat, Sri Lanka got off to a poor start as it lost Kusal Perera for nought in the very first over. The left-hand batsman, who replaced Upul Tharanga, missed a flick and trapped lbw by Umesh Yadav. The wicket, and India's disciplined bowling, did not seem to have much effect on Tillakaratne Dilshan. He had spoken about the need for a positive start the previous day and launched a counterattack, smashing four consecutive boundaries off R Ashwin in the 10th over.

The momentum, however, did not last long. Axar Patel and Ashwin struck to dismiss Dilshan and Jayawardene in the next four overs. At 64 for 3, there was a risk of the innings falling apart, like it had done in Cuttack. The onus was on Mathews and Sangakkara now and the duo stood up to the occasion, stringing together a partnership in the middle overs.

Sangakkara homed in on his 87th ODI half-century – second-most in ODI cricket – and with both batsmen settled and taking control, Sri Lanka took a cue from India’s tactics in the first ODI and took the batting Power Play ahead of schedule, in the 32nd over. The results, however, were not similar. Sangakkara fell for an 86-ball 61 to the second ball of the Power Play, lofting a full toss from Yadav straight to long-on and ending a 90-run stand for the fourth wicket.

The innings was largely a one-man show after that. Mathews continued to be positive and brought up his 23rd ODI fifty even as there were multiple moments of madness at the other end. Prasanna, Perera and Randiv threw their wickets away looking to attack the spinners, and the run out of Ashan Priyanjan did not help either. At 220 for 8 in 43.2 overs, there was a danger of Sri Lanka being bowled out before 50 overs, but an unbeaten partnership of 54 from 42 balls between Mathews and Prasad (30 from 28) for the ninth wicket took Sri Lanka past 270. It wasn't enough against an in-form Indian batting line up. Not by a long way.

The star of the Indian bowling performance was Patel, the left-arm spinner finishing with figures of 10-1-29-2. On a track with not much turn, he maintained tight lines and varied his pace to make life difficult for batsmen.