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Kumar Sangakkara leads Sri Lanka to victory over India

First Twenty20 International, Nagpur:
Sri Lanka 215-5 (20 overs) bt India 186-9 (20 overs) by 29 runs
Match scorecard

Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara
Sangakkara timed his innings perfectly in inspiring Sri Lanka

Kumar Sangakkara's highest Twenty20 international score set up a 29-run win as Sri Lanka bounced back following their Test series loss to India.

The skipper, whose previous best was 69, fired two sixes and 11 fours in a 37-ball 78 while Chamara Kapugedera added 47 off just 20 balls in Nagpur.

Chasing 215-5, opener Gautam Gambhir struck 55 but India lost six wickets in 5.2 overs as they limped to 186-9.

The second Twenty20 international takes place in Mohali on Saturday.

The foundation of the tourists' victory was built on Sangakkara's splendid innings, which came on the back of a typically quickfire 26 off 20 balls from Sanath Jayasuriya.

First he added 74 runs with flamboyant opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, and then upped the pace brilliantly with Kapugedrera, who hit some brutal shots in his innings.


Sangakkara was out off the last ball of the innings attempting an optimistic second run, and might have been an anxious man while watching Virender Sehwag - who fired a 254-ball 293 for India in the second Test last week - and Gambhir blaze away at the top of the innings.

But when Sehwag holed out on the deep point boundary off Nuwan Kulasekara and Gambhir was bowled by Angelo Mathews, India's middle order fell apart.

At that stage the hosts were well ahead of the required rate, but Sri Lanka's fielding was the difference.

Whereas India shelled four catches during Sri Lanka's innings, the tourists held everything and threw in two run-outs too, with only tail-ender Ashish Nehra (22 off 13 balls) offering resistance.

And India captain Mahendra Dhoni blamed a lack of focus for the defeat, saying: "I don't think we were in the groove for a Twenty20 game and too often we treat it as a warm-up for the one-dayers to follow. It's probably the reason for our defeats in these games.

I don't think we were in the groove for a Twenty20 game

India captain Mahendra Dhoni

"We needed a bit of luck to chase down that kind of total. It would have been a pretty remarkable effort if we had done it.

"The catching is a bit of concern. We are not a brilliant fielding side, but we don't (usually) drop too many catches."

Sangakkara, meanwhile, urged his side to produce winning performances on a more regular basis.

"Overall, everyone played really hard and they showed a lot of hunger to win," said the match-winning captain. "But we have to start from scratch again, although we will take some momentum and confidence from this.

"We have to break our game down and approach the next Twenty20 with the same enthusiasm and focus.

"We have got to learn and keep learning, keep our fielding standards up and our batting standards going and make sure we support each other."

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see also
India reach top of Test rankings
06 Dec 09 |  Cricket
India spinners seal emphatic win
27 Nov 09 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka in India 2009
28 Nov 09 |  Cricket

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