Continuing exceptional all-round show, India won second ODI against Srilanka played at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera. India’s batting control and taste for successful chases stayed in the second ODI as Ambati Rayudu scored his maiden ODI hundred to provide India a 2-0 lead in the Micromax five-match series.
Sri Lanka’s defendable 274 runs seemed as a piece of cake in front of Rayudu’s talent and aggressiveness. Indian Skipper showed his confidence on Ambati Rayudu and promoted him to play at No. 3. Ambati Rayudu stood on his trust and responded with a knock of 121 not out in 118 balls and made two hundred run partnerships with opener Shikhar Dhawan and then with Virat Kohli to win the match in just 44.3 overs.
Sri Lanka scored 274 runs in 50 overs with the help of their Skipper Angelo Mathews and Kumar Sangakkara’s fifties. Sri Lanka lost their first wicket in the very first over of the match. But after that, Tillakaratne Dilshan kept scoreboard ticking with former captain Sangakkara. Sri Lanka gained their confidence when Angelo Mathews and Sangakkara scored their fifties and made a partnership of 90 runs. Sri Lanka lost their two key wickets of Sangakkara and Jayawardene in short intervals. Akshar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin took wickets at regular intervals and kept Sri Lanka under trouble as visitors hunted down for a good partnership in the entire game. With unbeaten 54 runs partnership of Mathews and Dhammika Prasad’s for Sri Lanka managed to get a decent total on the scoreboard. Mathews could not reach three-figure mark, ceasing on unbeaten 92 runs in 101 balls with ten boundaries and one big six. Umesh Yadav (2-54), new face Akshar Patel (2-39) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-39) took two wickets each and kept Sri Lanka from reaching a mammoth total.
A target of 275 was not easy for India to chase, although Kohli would have been glad to see a good performance by their bowlers. India did not start well and lost their first wicket in the 7th over in the form of Ajinkya Rahane by Dhammika Prasad. Opener Shikhar Dhawan (79 runs in 80 balls) and Man of the Match Ambati Rayudu kept going on scoring runs in boundaries and made a hundred run standoff (122 runs). Dhawan departed in 27th over by Prasanna, but Rayudu continued gathering runs at a steady run-rate with skipper Kohli. Kohli and Rayudu added 116 runs before the fall of Virat Kohli (49 runs in 44 balls). India won by six wickets with 5.3 overs to spare with a maiden not out ton of Ambati Rayudu. Sri Lanka’s Bowlers didn’t bowl sufficiently well to defend their total of 274 runs. Seekkuge Prasanna was the only bowler who took three wickets while giving 53 runs in 7.3 overs.
Virat Kohli said: “Rayudu is a great player, he’s been around for a while. It’s all about giving him that opportunity to bat at No. 3. I just told him today that whatever you are doing now is what you deserved 12 years back. We are treating every game as the last game of the series. That’s the kind of mindset we are looking to develop.
Perhaps that is why Angelo Mathews did not mince words as he reflected on the six-wicket defeat on Thursday. “I think we’re slowly getting better, but I’m disappointed and embarrassed by the fact that we were not competitive enough against the Indians,” he said. “They thrashed us in the first ODI and also here. It was a convincing performance by them. We need to get our game up in the next few games to win against them.”
“I’m happy that I got a hundred,” Rayudu said, “but for me personally, I don’t think three figures matters as such – it’s just about the team winning. When you play for India, whatever role that the team gives us, I’m just glad I can fulfil the role they have given me today. I think it’s all about performing your role, more than about landmarks of fifties and hundreds.” He also added, “At the start, we were just looking to get a partnership going after an early wicket, and we were picking and choosing our shots. It was not actually planned as such, but we were motivated to see the team through. I was just trying to be safe and rotate the strike.”