Sri Lanka blow away India in second ODI

Level five-match series after crushing win in Hambantota

Sri Lanka produced a dominant display with bat and ball to thrash India by nine wickets and level the one-day international series at 1-1 on Tuesday.

Seam bowlers Anjelo Mathews and Thisara Perera took three wickets each and openers Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan both hit half-centuries at Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium.

India's hopes were wrecked after being dismissed for a meager 138 in 33.3 overs. Mathews claimed 3-14 from seven overs and Perera 3-19 from eight, with only opener Gautam Gambhir providing any resistance for India by scoring 65.

In reply, Sri Lanka reached 139-1 inside 20 overs, scoring at nearly seven runs per over. Upul Tharanga was unbeaten on 59, hitting eight boundaries, and Dilshan smashed five fours in scoring 50.

The pair put on 119 for the first wicket in 100 deliveries before Dilshan was caught by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
India made a promising start by scoring 31 in four overs after electing to bat first, but Perera's three-wicket burst without conceding a run in three overs curbed the hosts' momentum.

"I just told the guys we are capable of performing at the highest level and we just need to make sure that the focus is there," Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said. "I know the guys are a bit tired, but at the end of the day we are playing for our country. It's a great opportunity to play against a team like India, to try and execute our game plan, be relaxed — and that's what they did."

Perera said advice given by former South African seamer Shaun Pollock helped him to improve, and Jayawardene said the bowler has now staked a strong claim to regularly play test cricket.

Perera first pulled off a sharp return catch to dismiss Virender Sehwag for 15. Perera later took the wickets of the in-form Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina.

Kohli, who had four centuries in his last five innings, played a loose shot on 1 to be caught by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara. Kohli won the man-of-the-match award on Saturday for scoring 106 while Sehwag hit 96 as India won by 21 runs to lead 1-0 in the series.

Rohit Sharma was out without scoring, bowled by Mathews off the bottom edge. He made 5 in the first match.  Raina departed in identical fashion to Perera trying to chase a ball, for 1. Ashwin threatened a comeback by scoring 21 off 15 balls before being run out.

Gambhir was the last man out after 33.3 overs, having hit four boundaries in 96 balls.

"I don't think their shots were really rash. If the ball is there, you have to play your shots and only then you can score runs," Dhoni said of his batsmen. "It's part and parcel of the game, and it's a learning curve to assess the wicket."

There are three matches left in the series. The next game is in Colombo on Saturday.

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