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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Third ODI - Gambir and Raina scale record win

India started well and ended the match making all the right moves to win a record-breaking chase on Lankan soil. Thanks to Zaheer with the ball, Gambhir and Raina with the bat, Pathan with a bit of both, the Indian team reached the challenging total with five wickets to spare and two balls in hand.

The beginning was good for the Indians. Three wickets for the Indians for a score of 20 meant that the Lankans were on the backfoot early. It was upto the famliar pair of Jayawardane and Sangakkara to repair the ship. These two batsmen like playing with each other and moreso against India. The only blip was when Dinda made his biggest impact of the match - fracturing the finger of Sanga!

Joined later by Angelo Matthews, the Lankans started taking toll of the Indian bowling especially after Zaheer had exhausted his quota in the Powerplays. Probably, it is better for MS Dhoni to look at others like Raina, Ashwin, Rahul for Powerplays and keep Zak for the last 10.

When the chase started, Sehwag left early but Kohli and Gambhir settled in. Just when it looked like they would consolidate further, Kohli departed. Dhoni promoted himself but found the going tough for once. His promotion meant that Rohit went down one slot and what that worked on his mind was evident when Sharma came out to bat. Slow to start off, Rohit faced Malinga's full-length delivery tough to handle.

Gambhir also left quickly after scoring his 100, which brought Pathan to the crease. With lucky shots, both Raina and Irfan reduced the target slowly but surely. Surprisingly, this was their third 50+ partnership together which shows that they enjoy playing with each other. Confident strokes followed, especially the six of Malinga by Raina. The Indians take a lead thanks to the team effort but they know that they escaped defeat today. Unless they raise their game, such escapes dont happen regularly.
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