Published: December 27, 2009
The fifth and final ODI at the Feroz Shah Kotla lasted only 23.3 overs with the players deciding that the pitch was too dangerous. It was a similar situation like in 1997 when an ODI between the same teams – India and Sri Lanka at Indore was abandoned. Here too, it was Sri Lanka batting first and their players getting hit on the knuckles and upper body quite often. Tillakaratne Dilshan, hero of the year 2009 suffered the most taking a deadly blow on his elbow! Veteran Sanath Jayasuriya was perhaps cursing himself of still playing there at the age of 40 and taking blows on his shoulder and knuckles.
It wasn’t that the Sri Lankan batsmen lacked the technique to counter the difficult conditions. It was the devil in the pitch which was making the ball to bounce suddenly off good length and short pitch areas. Plenty of times, the batsmen had their heads knocked off nearly. India’s attack also was sharp with Zaheer, Nehra and Sudeep Tyagi all bowling at brisk fast medium pace.
After a 15-minute delay, the match got underway but the conditions still looked very foggy. Zaheer provided a dream start by getting an inducker to drive through the bat pad gap of Upul Tharanga to hit the top of off and middle stumps. It was just the first ball of the match and Tharanga, the last match centurion was out for a duck. Dilshan too would have perished in the very next over but Raina at covers had put down a sitter. To Raina’s defence, the visibility was not good enough due to the fog.
Dilshan after the dropped catch hung in there along with Sanath Jayasuriya. Two most destructive batsmen were at the crease together but it was the fast bowlers making them hop with some unpredictable bounce. Dilshan after a 39-ball stay finally was forced to a nick an away going one from Zaheer in the 11th over. He scored 20 with 2 fours and was perhaps happy to get back into the dressing room to have his bruised elbow attended.
The next man in, Kumar Sangakkara fell driving a wide one into the hands of Raina at covers in the 16th over to give debutant Tyagi his maiden wicket. In the next over, Sanath Jayasuriya (31 from 51 balls with 5 fours) got deceived by a drifter from Harbhajan Singh to get out lbw. It was a brilliant arm ball having set up the left hander in a comfort zone by bowling three well flighted off breaks prior to that. In the very next over, Sri Lanka slipped to 63 for 5 when Samaraweera was wrongly called for a single by Kandamby.
There was a tiny partnership developing after that between Kandamby (12* from 21) and debutant Pushpakumara (7* from 19 balls) but a short ball from Sudeep Tyagi which showed tennis ball bounce out of nowhere put an end to the match. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene sitting together outside the boundary ropes assessed that the pitch was not worth playing anymore. The officials got together with the two captains and that was it for the match much to the disappointment of the huge Sunday crowd. No presentations were made after the abandonment on the ground in what was the last ODI of the year 2009.
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