Yuvraj heroics help India square series
by Rohit Sakunia

Scorecard:India v Sri Lanka
Player:Yuvraj Singh, KC Sangakkara, MS Dhoni
Event:Sri Lanka in India 2009/10

DateLine: 12th December 2009


If T20's were synonyms of entertainment, the second T20 international between India and Sri Lanka provided maximum for the audience. First the Lankans batted, made mincemeat of Indian bowling and rattled up a score of 206 in their alloted 20 overs. Then the Indians matched them, in fact did better as they overhauled the target with 6 wickets in hand. Even humour was in supply at the PCA stadium as both sides missed silly run-out chances and sitters on the ground. One can be further precise in calling it a night of missed chances from both India and Sri Lanka.


It was the brilliance of Sehwag at the start of the Indian chase and the class of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in the middle order that bought the Indians the game, but Jayasuriya's help at the very beginning in which he dropped a sitter from Sehwag cannot be ruled away in India scaling the record for the highest chase in T20 international history.


Chasing 207 to win and square the series the Indian openers again gave the team a healthy start at the outset. Though the ball did a little very early into the innings, it hardly had any impact on Sehwag's batting. He came out with eyes set on the target and not for a moment till he batted he looked any bit away from it.


Gambhir though didn't look like the Gambhir of the last match. He had just one boundary in his knock of 21 and even that came of an inside edge of a Kulasekara's indipper. The Lankans like the Indians came out with butter fingers and missed catches and run-out chances alike. Sehwag and Gambhir were reprieved at least half a dozen times because the Lankans could neither see the wickets nor the fielder next to it. Sehwag took full toll of these chances as huge sixes came out of his willow, two to number those before the powerplays and both in the cover region, the latter reaching the second stand on a good big ground. The right-handed Indian opener reached his fifty in just 28 deliveries and the knock till now was already studded with six hits to the fence and two over it.


The duo then ran out of luck finally as a silly piece of running between the wickets, gave Sri Lanka their easiest chance to run-out Gambhir. The left-hander drove to the right of Malinga at mid-off who misfielded and the obvious one became two. Gambhir though wanted three which looked a distant possibility but since Viru wasn't ready he had to rush back, failing to make it before Sangakkara disturbed the timber.


The Indian skipper Dhoni walked into the middle after Gambhir's wicket and after a long time he looked like the Dhoni of yesteryears. The right-hander looked aggressive from the outset and after Kapugedara dropped a sitter offered by Dhoni at square-leg, the Indian skipper made the Lankans pay by hitting Matthews for a consecutive four and a six.The duo brought up their fifty-run stand in 29 deliveries and immediately after that against the run of play Sehwag found Weeraratne at the long-on fence of Malinga's bowling. The wicket was set up beautifully as the slinger of the Lankan attack had given away just four runs of the previous five deliveries.


Dhoni continued to play shots and take it over after Sehwag left. His liking for Matthews continued as he smacked the medium-pacer for another huge six over long-on. Birthday boy Yuvraj Singh joined his skipper and Weeraratne who was brought back into the attack was welcomed by a four and a six in the 13th over. The over costed the Lankans 21 and for the first time in the innings the run-rate required came trickling down to less than 10 an over.


The duo in the fifteenth over raised their fifty run stand of just 23 deliveries and India at this time had started to look favourites to win the game. Yuvraj from now on had started to toy with the Lankan bowling. In the sixteenth over the left-hander smacked Kulasekara for 23 runs which included two sixes and two boundaries, one of the latter came as the very safe Dilshan spilled an easy one on the long-off fence.


He brought up his fifty in the next over of just 20 deliveries and the local crowd went berserk over their birthday boy's achievement. India by now had brought the run-rate down to six an over but just when they looked cruising towards the win, a brilliant Fernando inswinging yorker disturbed Dhoni's timber.


Yuvraj though didn't ruffle a bit and though Suresh Raina was run-out as Sri Lanka finally managed a direct hit, the left-hander finished the formalities alongside Dinesh Karthik with 5 deliveries and 6 wickets in hand. Justifiably it was Yuvraj who hit the winning runs and more justifiably he finished it of with a mighty six over long-on. He finished with a whooping 60 of 25 balls after his good bowling efforts which produced three wickets for his side.


Earlier on a cold evening at the Mohali in Chandigarh, Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. India who had come into the game following a 29-run defeat at Nagpur made three changes, one of them though due to an injury to Rohit Sharma. The men brought into the squad were Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja and debutante Sudeep Tyagi. Sri Lanka on the other hand dropped Muthumudalige Pushpakumara for Kaushalya Weeraratne. The emerald islanders surprisingly did not field any specialist spinner.


Sanath Jayasuriya started in a characteristic swashbuckling fashion and got his first boundary of the first ball he faced in the first over. Tillekratne Dilshan though could not live up to the billing getting out of Ishant Sharma's second delivery. The ball dipped in and Dilshan opened up the India gate for him to explore between bat and pad.


His wicket increased India's problems as skipper Kumar Sangakkara who has been the cause of major problems for India since the last innings of the third Test walked in and started to smack the ball as if he is continuing from where he left at Nagpur. The Lankan skipper from then on took centerstage with a smashing 31-ball 59 as Jayasuriya stroked his way to 31 of 21 deliveries. Sangakkara was also aided by India's lacklustre fielding as Ravindra Jadeja dropped him on the midwicket fence. Apart from that easy chance, Sangakkara didn't gave many and made maximum usage of the brilliant batting track on offer. The first delivery that he faced was sent to the cover fence and then he slammed the debutante Tyagi, over point for six before a fortuitous inside edge for four. These shots by the left-handers brought up the innings 50 in just 4.3 overs.


Sri Lanka continued to rampage the Indian attack as the scorecard at the end of the Powerplays read 73 for 1. The Indian skipper's problems were plenty as his pacerss were bowling at the wrong places and his spinners were throwing dartballs outside leg-stump. In the eighth over though Pathan trapped Jayasuriya in front to end an 81-run partnership that took just 6.3 overs. The runs though still continued to come as at the halfway stage, the visitors were going extremely strong with 107 on the board.


It was Yuvraj Singh, Sangakkara's Kings XI Punjab teammate who finally brought the run-machine's downfall. The left-hander could not time one real slow one from the spinner and Nehra caught a sitter at long-on. Mahela Jayawardene, another IPL "local", came in and cut Jadeja for four, before a big heave off an Ishant's slower delivery found Tyagi at long-on.


Wickets then started to fell for the vistors. Chamara Kapugedara holed out in similar fashion off Yuvraj, and Jayasinghe, who was running with a huge amount of luck backing him, finally ran out of it as he was caught trying to swing one out of the deep square leg fence. The tourists started to look like losing the plot but with Angelo Mathews flicking Ishant for six and the fielding lapses continued without a break, the early damage was reinforced. The right-handed burly all-rounder finished it with a six, as India second time in a row had a 200 plus total to chase down.


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