India Make a Flying Start


Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir cracked half-centuries to upstage Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya as India posted a six-wicket win in the opening one-dayer here on Wednesday.


Opener Gambhir made 62 and skipper Dhoni an unbeaten 61 to help India achieve a 247-run target with 11 balls to spare for a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Gambhir set up the win with a 113-run stand for the second wicket with Suresh Raina (54) before Dhoni completed the job with his 26th half-century. Rohit Sharma remained unbeaten with 25.


The Indian batsmen overshadowed opener Jayasuriya, who made a robust 107 to become the oldest batsman to smash a one-day century and the second to complete 13,000 runs.
Man-of-the-match Jayasuriya's 28th hundred came at the age of 39 years and 212 days, beating the previous oldest century-maker, Englishman Geoff Boycott at 39 years and 51 days (v Australia at Sydney in 1979).


Jayasuriya is now the world's second-highest scorer with 13,070 runs after India's Sachin Tendulkar (16,427).


India began the chase on a shaky note as they lost Tendulkar (five) in the fourth over and then saw Gambhir and Raina survive some anxious moments early in their innings.


Gambhir was on 11 when he got the benefit of the doubt from TV umpire Gamini Silva after paceman Nuwan Kulasekara had held a low return catch and then Raina was dropped on four by Tillakaratne Dilshan at point off Thilan Thushara.


Raina eased the pressure with a vigorous counter-attack, hitting Kulasekara for two fours and a six over long-on in the same over.


Record-seeking spinner Muttiah Muralidaran broke the stand when he had Gambhir caught by Thilina Kandamby in the deep for his 501st victim. The Indian opener hit five fours in his 14th half-century.


Muralidaran now needs two more wickets to surpass former Pakistani paceman Wasim Akram's one-day record of 502 wickets.


Raina soon followed Gambhir, run out while going for a second run after hitting one six and three fours in his ninth half-century.


Jayasuriya was in the limelight in the morning session, pacing his batting superbly on a slow pitch to hit one six and 10 fours in his 114-ball knock.


He propped up the innings with a 118-run stand for the second wicket with Kumar Sangakkara (44) and 51 for the next with Kandamby (17) after the opening-over dismissal of in-form Dilshan.


Dilshan, who scored a century in his team's series-clinching win in his last match in Pakistan recently, was run out for no score following a mix-up with Jayasuriya.


India, who elected to field after winning the toss, then had to wait for more than 27 overs for the next success as Jayasuriya and Sangakkara batted comfortably against both pace and spin.
Jayasuriya went for big shots after completing his half-century, once hoisting left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha over long-on for the first six of the match.


Skipper Mahela Jayawar-dene's poor run with the bat continued as he made just 11 to remain without a half-century in his last 13 one-dayers.






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