The first ODI of the Hero Honda Cup 2007 at Eden Gardens has been abandoned due to rain. A packed house at the historical venue waited and waited for about four hours without seeing a ball bowled before the inevitable happened. Sri Lanka were 102 for 3 in 18.2 overs when rain had put a halt to the proceedings.
Whatever little that had happened on the ground…
Overnight rains had put a doubt on the start of today’s match, but due to a good drainage system and the efforts of the groundstaff saw the first ODI kick off on time. Rahul Dravid having won the toss had put the Lankans to bat first on an ideal One Day track. The Indian Skipper was wary of the dew factor and the past results for India at this venue while defending a target under lights. India had only 12 fit players for this game in which they had omitted veteran leggie Anil Kumble. Virender Sehwag and Munaf Patel were making their comeback, so was Sreesanth. The Sri Lankans were testing out Russel Arnold and left armer Nuwan Zoysa.
Zaheer Khan started the match with a disastrous over, a couple of half volleys were put away in style by Upul Tharanga to the ropes. The left arm paceman also gifted five wides down the legs as Sri Lanka got off to a rollicking start. Sanath Jayasuriya at the other end treated Munaf Patel in the same fashion as he had to Venkatesh Prasad in the 90s. However, Munaf being much quicker got things under control and even managed to frustrate Upul Tharanga in playing a premeditated pull shot onto his stumps. Tharanga wasted his start to be dismissed for 14. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene played a ‘nonsense shot’ without opening his account. He had shuffled across the line in his fourth delivery only to scoop a simple catch to his Indian counterpart, Rahul Dravid at mid on. Munaf Patel seemed to have a booked his ticket for the Caribbean with these two wickets along with the tidy line and length.
Sri Lanka were pegged back at 44 for 2 inside 8 overs, but it did not stop Jayasuriya from playing the way he does. Jayasuriya was quick to play his ferocious cuts and pulls to anything that was short and anything pitched up were lofted cleanly over the infield. Sreesanth had suffered in the hands of the old fox. He was also taken apart by Sangakkara for a couple of boundaries in an over that had forced Rahul Dravid to hold back the third powerplay block and introduce Harbhajan Singh into the attack. Sreesanth was still persisted with enough fielders in the deep and he gave India the breakthrough with the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara. The wicket keeper batsman went for an overconfident square cut without moving his feet at all and with Sreesanth getting the ball to deviate away ever so slightly, the result was an edge behind for Dhoni. Sri Lanka moved onto 102 for 3 in the 19th over when the heavens had opened up to end Jayasuriya’s fireworks. He remained undefeated on 63, his 62nd ODI fifty. Sanath’s runs had come in 61 balls with 13 fours. Former Skipper Marvan Atapattu was the other unbeaten batsman with 5 to his name before rain had taken care of the remaining part of the game. Among the bowlers, Munaf Patel came out with respectable figures of 2 for 25 in 7 overs that also included a maiden over. Sreesanth continued to be expensive, his figures look ugly with 1 for 36 from 4.2 overs.
The second ODI is at Rajkot on the 11th with India expecting to play all the three players who had missed out today. Yuvraj Singh was out with a stiff back and Irfan Pathan had a sore shoulder. Ajit Agarkar was suffering from a fever.