Pathans pick off Sri Lanka
Tourists squeeze home with four balls to spare in Colombo
Last Updated: 10/02/09 5:56pm
Irfan Pathan: Wickets and runs in India's three-wicket win
Sri Lanka 171-4 (T M Dilshan 61) v India 174-7
India beat Sri Lanka by 3 wkts
Brothers Yusuf and Irfan Pathan combined to steer India to a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the one-off Twenty20 International in Colombo.
Chasing 172 to win after stand-in skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan had hit 61, the tourists looked in real trouble when they slipped to 115-7.
Leg spinner Malinga Bandara made the most of a rare chance to play ahead of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan, picking up 3-32 in four overs.
However, India managed to squeeze home thanks to the Pathans, who put on 59 in only 25 deliveries in a match-winning unbroken stand.
The duo's efforts saw their side over the finishing line with four balls to spare, Irfan ending the match in style with a six. He finished on 33 not out from 16 deliveries.
Sibling Yusuf contributed a 10-ball 22 after the middle order had collapsed, failing their trial by spin as five wickets went down for just 34 runs.
Sri Lanka struck a crucial early blow when they had the dangerous Virender Sehwag run out for one at the end of the first over and his opening partner, Gautam Gambhir, went next ball for 13.
Suresh Raina (35) and Yuvraj Singh (32) steadied the ship with a stand of 67 in eight overs before Bandara, with help from left-armer Sanath Jayauriya and the part-time off-spin of Jehan Mubarak, put Sri Lanka back in charge.
But the reigning world champions still had enough to clinch victory thanks to the two Pathans, who had already claimed three wickets between them with the ball earlier on.
It was Irfan that struck the crucial first blow for the visitors, the seamer dismissing Sanath Jayasuriya after the opener had got the hosts off to a flying start at the Premadasa Stadium.
The veteran batsman hammered 33 off 17 balls - including 18 off Ishant Sharma's second over - before the victimised bowler got his revenge by hanging on to a tough chance at mid-on.
Dilshan continued on from where his opening partner had left off, belting seven fours and a six in his 47-ball knock. Chamara Silva chipped in with an unbeaten 21 in the closing overs, though Sri Lanka's final total proved not to be enough.