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Sangakkara, Jayawardene steady Sri Lankan innings


Mumbai : Harbhajan Singh removed dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan to give India the second wicket but Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara (39) and Mahela Jayawardene (25) steadied the innings in the World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium here Saturday.

After the fall of Dilshan, Sangakkara (39) and Jayawardene (25) took the score to 105/2 in 25 overs. The two most experienced batsmen added 45 runs in quick time.

Electing to bat, the Sri lankans lost openers Upul Tharanga (2) and Dilshan (33).

Seasoned seamer Zaheer Khan led India to a sound start by maintaining a steady line and length and bowled back-to-back maidens in his first three overs as the Tharanga and Dilshan found it hard to get him away as the Indian fielders also showed lot of agility on the ground.

Tharanga, who semed lacklustre, edged an away going delivery and Virender Sehwag threw himself on to the ground to lap up the low catch in Zaheer’s fourth over. A deafening roar greeted the fall of the first Sri Lankan wicket. The left arm pacer’s first three overs were maidens.

Sangakkara and Dilshan then put on 43 runs for the second wicket.

Dilshan, who is the top-scorer of the tournament, tried to sweep Harbhajan but the ball brushed his gloves and hit his thigh before rattling the stumps. Dilshan played 49 balls and hit three fours.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni went for a three-two pace-spin attack drafting Shantakumaran Sreesanth in place of the injured Ashish Nehra.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, sprang a big surprise by making as many as four changes from the side that played the semifinal against New Zealand in Colombo.

Sangakkara predictably dropped the two spinners Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath, but he also decided to gamble with an extra bowler by omitting the middle-order batsman Chamara Silva, to go in with five bolwers. The fourth player to be sidelined was injured all-rounder Angelo Mathews.

Sangakkara may miss Mathews, but he has two bowlers who are handy batsmen. Medium-pacer Thisara Perera, who is a hard-hitting lower-order batsman, and off-spinner Suraj Randiv, who is no mug with the bat, give depth to their batting.

The other two additions were medium-pacer Nuwan Kulasekara and one-day specialist Chamara Kapugedera, who was included to shore up the inconsistent middle order.