The fifth match of the CB Series between India and Sri Lanka ended in an unbelievable tie today at the Adelaide Oval with once again Skipper MS Dhoni in the thick of action in a run chase. Needing a modest 237 to win, India brought Sri Lanka back in the game after doing some silly mistakes. In the end, the equation was 4 runs to win from the final ball to be bowled by Lasith Malinga. The striker was MS Dhoni who got underneath the near yorker and hit it flat towards deep extra covers. There was just enough time for the Indian Skipper and last man Umesh Yadav to run three to end the game in a tie. Sri Lanka searching desperately for their first win of the tournament settled for two points.
India’s run chase was derailed in the 6th over when Sachin Tendulkar (15) nicking his backfoot drive off an away going delivery from Nuwan Kulasekara to the Keeper. Things moved steadily with the pair of Gambhir and Kohli in the middle until a rank bad flick across the line from the latter resulted in a second wicket for SL in the 15th over. India was 61 for 2 when Virat Kohli (15) got hit on the pad plumb infront of middle to a Thisara Perera inducker.
The World Champions got another decent partnership going with Gambhir keeping his end secured. Rohit Sharma (15) got a start too like Sachin and Kohli but failed to convert it into anything meaningful. In the 22nd over, a misjudged call from him to steal a single for Gambhir from short thirdman caused Rohit Sharma’s downfall. Sri Lanka was really back in the game when Suresh Raina (8) glanced a full delivery from Lasith Malinga to the keeper down the legside to leave his side at 118 for 4 in the 28th over.
Under pressure, India got bailed out thanks to a crucial partnership of 60 between the well set Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni. Gambhir (91 from 106 balls with 6 fours) was unfortunate to get out in the 90s for a second time in a row when he was sent back by MS Dhoni after the latter had firmly hit one towards mid on. With the equation getting tighter, one more perished under pressure for India and this time it was Ravindra Jadeja (3) driving Perera uppishly to get caught low by Mahela Jayawardene. India at this stage needed 53 runs from 39 balls on a track that had slowed down considerably.
R Ashwin who was sent ahead of Irfan Pathan added 26 runs with his skipper before falling in the 48th over. India at this stage was left with 25 to get from just 14 balls having lost seven wickets already! They needed 24 runs from the last two overs which was a difficult task. The penultimate over from Angelo Mathews was surely going to be the most important over of the match. And it saw India pull off a six from a beamer by Irfan Pathan which reduced the equation nicely to 20 from 9 balls. However, Pathan got out in the very next ball through a run out but luckily for India sacrificed his wicket to save MS Dhoni. The next ball from Mathews went for a boundary flat towards the wide long on region. The final ball saw MS Dhoni take a single to retain the strike for the last over with India needing 9 to get from Lasith Malinga!
Dhoni picked up two in the first ball, then a single. He retained the strike with Vinay Kumar pinching a single in the third ball to reduce the equation to 5 from 3 balls. This was when Dhoni perhaps did the mistake of going for a single after whacking Malinga straight to mid wicket. Infact he would have been run out as well had Malinga collected the throw and had not disturbed the stumps prior to that. With 4 to win from 2 balls, Vinay attempted a single from mid off and got run out leaving Dhoni to get a boundary off the final ball which he almost achieved!
For the Lankans, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath did a superb job in strangling the runs with figures of 0 for 33 in 10 overs. Kulasekara too curtailed the run flow while Malinga was the weapon used by Sri Lanka in the crunch situation. The Man of the Match award went to the Indian Skipper MS Dhoni for his brilliant knock of 58 from 69 balls with 3 fours and a six.