Ganguly, Dravid Feast on Sri Lankan Lions
India passed the test of nerve, self-esteem, and temperament by unleashing a batting inferno of such fiery proportions that several World Cup records, not to speak of Sri Lanka, were consumed in a conflagration the rest of cricketing world could bask in.
To describe Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid as arsonists who made a bonfire of the Sri Lankan attack and brought a warm glow to the Indian dressing room would be undermining their effort. Their batsmanship was nuclear in its intensity and the fusion of skill and appetite brought heat and light that hasn’t been seen in this World Cup so far.
The duo added 318 for the second wicket, after Sadagopan Ramesh had perished in the first over, erasing a spate of world records, including the partnership for any wicket.
If Ganguly (183) fell a blow or two short of the highest individual score in the World Cup (Gary Kirsten, 188) or any One-Day International (Saeed Anwar 194), it was more a tribute to selfless batsmanship than any lack of trying.
Such was their dominance that in the rarest of rare instance, the rest of India’s batting line up was rendered rather superfluous. Never before would Tendulkar and Azharuddin be happier to bat so late so little, although the great man put his fingerprint on the win with a direct hit that secured one of the two Sri Lankan run outs. The other was effected with another direct hit in the very first over by Srinath, proving the point that when you are winning, everything goes your way.
In truth, India created this victory with their explosive batting which set Sri Lanka a target of 374 in 50 overs at a fervid 7.48 runs an over. They were helped by bowling of such sloth and waywardness that it straightaway undermined Ranatunga’s decision to put India in after winning the toss.
The Lankans did not have a chance unless India sleepwalked the rest of the game, which they did not. They bowled tidily but fielded sloppily and eased up only occasionally as the light went out on the Lankans.
Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga flickered briefly but the task was too much as they were felled by four leg before verdicts early in the innings. It was Robin Singh who came up with a rich haul of five wickets for 32 as the Lankans struggled to 216, but the match was won and lost almost as soon as India finished batting.
The video :
Sadagoppan Ramesh b Vaas 5 (4 balls, 1×4 0×6)
Sourav Ganguly c (sub) b Wickramasinghe 183 (158 balls, 17×4 7×6)
Rahul Dravid run out 145 (129 balls, 17×4 1×6)
Sachin Tendulkar b Jayasuriya 2 (3 balls, 0×4 0×6)
Ajay Jadeja c & b Wickramasinghe 5 (4 balls, 0×4 0×6)
Robin Singh c de Silva b Wickramasinghe 0 (1 ball, 0×4 0×6)
Mohammad Azharuddin not out 12 (7 balls, 0×4 1×6)
Javagal Srinath not out 0 (0 balls, 0×4 0×6)
Did not bat: Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad, Debasis Mohanty
Extras (lb 3, w 12, nb 6) 21
Total (6 wickets, 50 overs): 373
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Ramesh, 0.5 overs), 2-324 (Dravid, 45.4), 3-344 (Tendulkar, 46.5), 4-349 (Jadeja, 47.3), 5-349 (Robin, 47.4), 6-372 (Ganguly, 49.5)
Bowling: Vaas 10-0-84-1 (3nb, 1w); Upashantha 10-0- 80-0 (3nb, 3w); Wickramasinghe 10-0-65-3 (1w); Muralitharan 10-0-60- 0 (2w); Jayawardena 3-0-21-0; Jayasuriya 3-0-37-1 (2w); de Silva 4-0-23-0 (1w)
Sanath Jayasuriya run out Srinath 3 (7 balls, 0×4 0×6)
Romesh Kaluwitharana lbw b Srinath 7 (15 balls, 1×4 0×6)
Maravan Atapattu lbw b Mohanty 29 (29 balls, 5×4, 0×6)
Aravinda de Silva lbw b Robin 56 (74 balls, 7×4 0×6)
Mahela Jayawardena lbw b Kumble 4 (5 balls, 1×4 0×6)
Arjuna Ranatunga b Robin 42 (57 balls, 7×4 0×6)
Roshan Mahanama run out Tendulkar 32 (45 balls, 3×4 0×6)
Chaminda Vaas c Ramesh b Robin 1 (4 balls, 0×4 0×6)
Eric Upashantha c Azharuddin b Robin 5 (17 balls, 0×4 0×6)
Pramodaya Wickramasinghe not out 2 (6 balls, 0×4 0×6)
Muttiah Muralitharan c Tendulkar b Robin 4 (3 balls, 1×4 0×6)
Extras (b4, lb12, w8, nb7) 31
Total (all out in 42.3 overs): 216
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Jayasuriya, 2.1); 2-23 (Kaluwitharana, 4.3); 3-74 (Atapattu, 14.2); 4-79 (Jayawardena, 15.3); 5-147 (de Silva, 28.1); 6-181 (Ranatunga, 34.3); 7-187 (Vaas, 36.4); 8-203 (Upashantha, 40.6); 9-204 (Mahanama, 41.3)
Bowling: Srinath 7-0-33-1; Prasad 8-0-41-0; Mohanty 5-0-31-1; Kumble 8-0-27-1; Ganguly 5-0-37-0; Robin 9.3-0-31-5.
Result: India won by 157 runs
Man of the match: Sourav Ganguly
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