India subside as Jayasuriya shoulders responsibility

Sanath Jayasuriya was the hero of the middle order as Sri Lanka made hard work of beating India in an exhilarating opening match of the one-day series in Dambulla. Set a lowly 206 to win against an under-strength Indian side, the hosts stumbled to a tense three-wicket victory in the 49th over to secure the first points of the Indian Oil Cup.

Jayasuriya, somewhat surprisingly demoted to sixth in the order despite an impressive one-day opening pedigree, hit an unbeaten 43 to guide his side home. The expansive left-hander, with almost 10,000 ODI runs to his name, came to the crease with the hosts rocking on 104 for four but hung around to hit the winning runs - much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

India will be disappointed not to have made more of winning the toss after posting a weak first-innings score that ultimately proved their downfall. However, Greg Chappell's side will have a chance to bounce back when they take on West Indies in the second game of the tournament tomorrow. Sri Lanka on the other hand will feel relieved to have won a tight opening game after sharing their opponents' struggles with the bat. Just as India had done earlier in the day, Tom Moody's side lost wickets on a regular basis after Kumar Sangakkara was trapped lbw by Irfan Pathan for 14.

Marvan Atapattu was then run out for 29 before the dangerous Mahela Jayawardene (15) was bowled by Zaheer Khan. Tillakaratne Dilshan (17) and Russel Arnold (22) both then fell to Harbhajan Singh, leaving Jayasuriya the unfamiliar task of guiding the tail to victory.

He was aided by 21 from debutant pacer Dilhara Lokuhettige, 11 from Upul Chandana and an excellent 23 not out from 20-year-old Farveez Maharoof. India had limped to a disappointing 205 for nine in their 50 overs.

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