Pathan brothers seal the deal for India
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Sri Lanka v India
Player:TM Dilshan, ST Jayasuriya, HMCM Bandara, CRD Fernando, YK Pathan, IK Pathan, I Sharma
Event:India in Sri Lanka 2008/09

DateLine: 10th February 2009


The Pathan brothers put on a frenzied eighth-wicket partnership to take India to a last-over victory over a stunned Lankan team in the one-off Twenty20 international. The younger Pathan, Irfan joined Yusuf in the 16th over, when Sri Lankan spinners had combined to derail India's chase of 172. But from 115 for 7, India were lifted past the finishing line with four balls remaining thanks to a stunning partnership of 59 runs in just 25 deliveries. With clean hitting and clinical placement, Yusuf and Irfan turned the match upside down and gave India yet another pleasing victory on the Sri Lankan soil.


Leading Sri Lanka for the first time, Tillakaratne Dilshan rode his luck and powered his team to a healthy 171 for 4 in the one-off Twenty20 game against India. Dilshan needed all the luck that he could find to withstand the Indian juggernaut and he escaped twice in the first three overs: Irfan Pathan, who had a sloppy day in the field, dropped a sitter at mid-off off Zaheer Khan in the first over when Dilshan hadn't scored a run, and Yuvraj missed a run-out chance in the third. Despite those near-misses, though, it was a fine knock by Dilshan en route to his first half-century in a Twenty20 international. Sensibly, he played the second fiddle to the rampaging Sanath Jayasuriya in an opening partnership of 59. Thereafter, he assumed the role of senior batsman pushing the score along with some support from Chamara Kapugedera. Ishant Sharma bore the brunt of the Lankan assault and was India's most expensive bowler. Dilshan creamed him for two fours through the off side and a lofted six over his head off successive balls before his luck ran out next ball.


The onslaught started in the fourth over, with Ishant at the receiving end of a fearful battering: after a mistimed pull which found its way to the midwicket boundary, Jayasuriya slammed two sixes off the next three balls - both off the front foot, the first carved over cover, and the second swiped so effortlessly over midwicket. Sri Lanka had raced to 53 in 4.5 overs, and the Indians were clearly rattled. Ishant plucked off a superb one-handed catch leaping high to cut short Jayasuriya's blitz off the bowling of Irfan Pathan. Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned to his slow bowlers and they responded superbly: Yusuf Pathan - easily the best bowler on view - fired in his off spinners, keeping the ball flat, within the stumps, and just short of a length, giving the batsmen few attacking options. Ravindra Jadeja, making his debut in this format, kept it at blockhole length, and the batsmen could do little other than take singles. Jehan Mubarak was unable to step up the gas and Sri Lanka brought up their 100 in only the 13th over as all momentum provided by Jayasuriya evaporated. India did well to restrict the home team to just 19 in the last three overs.


India got the start that they needed when they took fourteen of Malinga's first over but in the process lost Sehwag to a careless bit of running. Gambhir fell in the next over and India were 14 for 2 by the beginning of the second over. Yuvraj and Raina slowly and steadily rebuilt the stuttering Indian innings with a partnership of 67 runs in seven overs when Yuvraj was caught behind of Mubarak to a ball that kept low. Dhoni came in next but surprisingly he could not get the runs flowing. While he was searching for the fluency Raina was going from strength to strength and he even survived a drop catch off Bandara. To show that he was not affected he deposited Bandara in the midwicket stands but unfortunately h tried one shot too many and was caught in the outfield. Bandara and the veteran Jayasuriya then settled into a nice rhythm as they derailed the Indian innings with some strait-jacket bowling. Rohit Sharma tried to play the waiting game but then his patience snapped and he was caught in the deep when he tried to give Jayasuriya the charge. Jadeja was yorkered by Bandara nad it seemed that the Indian innings was coming to close.


India were 115 for 7 by 15.1 needing 57 runs in 4.5 overs. It was then that Yusuf got stuck into Bandara as he creamed 16 runs in the last four balls of the over. Feeding on the aggression of his elder brother Irfan too began to open up as they scattered the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the ground. Dilshan began to lose his plot as he shuffled the bowling around in mere hope of getting a breakthrough but the Pathan brothers were too strong for them as they blew the bowling attack to smithereens. Fernando was taken for 12 runs in the next over followed by a 12 run over from Malinga. Fernando had a nightmare of a match as he was very erratic. He did bowl some good balls but it was spread between so many hopeless balls. The defining moment came in the 19th over as Fernando was torn apart for 19 runs thus reducing the margin to a gettable 5 from 6 balls. Irfan Pathan finished off the match in style as he calmly deposited a full length ball from Malinga into the midwicket stand to set off a delirious celebration in the Indian dressing room. The Pathan siblings had added a mind-blowing 59 runs in 25 balls as the the Indian team rounded up the short Sri Lankan tour with another victory in their kitty.