| GEO Sports|
| India crush Lanka in one-off T20 thriller|
| Updated at: 0215 PST, Wednesday, February 11, 2009|
COLOMBO: India played like true world champions to beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets in the Twenty20 international played here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday. After being reduced to 115/7 in their quest to chase a target of 172, the visitors were rescued by a 59 run partnership in just 4.1 overs between Man of the Match Yusuf Pathan (22*) and Irfan Pathan (33*).
In the first session, Sri Lanka put up a challenging total of 171/4 on the board, thanks largely to skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 61 off just 47 balls.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka got off to a rollicking start as the opening duo of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya took the home team past the 50 run mark in just the 5th over. The left-handed veteran smashed Ishant Sharma for 18 runs in the 4th over.
The home team looked to be heading for a score close to 200 but the Indian bowlers managed to peg them back with some tight bowling toward the end. Ishant Sharma gave just three runs off the last over of the innings.
For India, Yusuf took 2 wickets while Ishant and Irfan captured a wicket each. Chasing 172 to win, India had a disastrous start, losing both the openers with just 14 runs on the board.
Sehwag (1) was brilliantly run out by Kapugedara in the first over while Gambhir (13) followed him just a short while later after being caught by Kaushalya Weeraratne off Thushara.
Raina and Yuvraj then played sensibly s India made steady progress while keeping the asking rate under control. The duo shared 87 runs between them in just seven overs before Yuvraj was caught behind the wickets by Dilshan off Mubarak.
Just when it looked like India would chase down the winning total comfortably, Suresh Raina perished while trying to play an expansive shot. Disaster struck as the visitors lost the wickets of Dhoni (13), Rohit Sharma (4) and Ravindra Jadeja (5) in quick succession, slumping to 117/5.
It was then that the Pathan brothers walked out and took the game out of the home team’s grasp. Wild celebrations erupted in the Indian camp as Irfan Pathan hit the winning six with four balls to spare.
Yusuf hit a four and two huge sixes in his innings while Irfan smashed two fours and as many sixes in his 16 ball knock.