Revamped India fall to SL in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad, November 6:

Sri Lanka finally tasted success in the limited-overs series in India with a five-wicket victory over their new-look rivals in the fifth international on Sunday.

The tourists, playing for pride after losing the first four games of the seven-match series, successfully chased down India’s 285-8 with 14 balls to spare in the day-night encounter here.

Tillekeratne Dilshan and Russel Arnold fashioned the emphatic win with an undefeated partnership of 131 for the sixth wicket after Sri Lanka were reduced to 155-5 in the 30th over.

Dilshan top-scored with an unbeaten 81 off 67 balls, while Arnold provided able support with 49 not out.

With the series already in the bag, India rested key batsman Sachin Tendulkar and frontline bowlers Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh for the match. India’s challenging total revolved around left-hander Gautam Gambhir’s 103 on his first appearance in the series and skipper Rahul Dravid’s identical 103 not out.

Sri Lanka were 73-3 in reply despite Kumar Sangakkara’s 39 when captain Mahela Atapattu (39) and Mahela Jayawardena (37) retrieved the situation by adding 70 for the fourth wicket. Dilshan and Arnold silenced a sell-out crowd of 45,000 at the Motera stadium by leading their side to a much-needed win.

Gambhir smashed 13 fours and a six in his maiden limited-overs century. Dravid overcame leg cramps to reach his 11th century off the penultimate ball, lofting Dilhara Fernando to the mid-wicket fence for his 11th boundary.

In Centurion, Andrew Hall took a career-best four for 23 and South Africa beat New Zealand by five wickets in a rain-shortened fifth and final one-day international match on Sunday.

A heavy thunderstorm interrupted the Proteas’ pursuit of New Zealand’s 215 at Centurion Park, and the hosts reached its revised target of 140 with 11 balls to spare to win the series 4-0.

Captain Graeme Smith (66 off 65 balls) was particularly severe on fast bowler Kyle Mills during South Africa’s innings. The pair clashed verbally on a number of occasions, with umpire Steve Bucknor and New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming intervening. In New Zealand’s innings, Lou Vincent topscored with 66, while Nathan Astle made 37.