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Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 16:28 GMT

Sri Lanka stun India

Sri Lanka's Ranjan Madugalle The World Cup's first shock result came in 1979.

The most famous day in Sri Lankan cricket came in 1996 when they won the World Cup.

But without doubt 17 years earlier they enjoyed a result that was celebrated with equal enthusiasm.

Sri Lanka v India in Manchester 1979 may not have the same resonance as the final against Australia in Lahore.

But it was a match, and a victory, that helped win Test status and repsect within the wider cricketing world - not least from India.

The islanders had qualified for their second World Cup as winners of the inaugural ICC Trophy.

Despite dominating that competition, beating the likes of Israel and Denmark en route to a final victory over Canada, the step up in class was a different proposition.

Following three successive defeats in the 1975 World Cup, a comprehensive opening defeat to New Zealand four years on did not bode well.

After a wash-out against the West Indies, India were next up in what was effectively a dead match with both teams eliminated from the tournament already.

But try telling the Sri Lankans that the match carried no significance.

They made a positive start reaching 127 before losing their second wicket which ended a wonderful partnership of 96 between Sunil Wettimuny and Roy Dias.

And where Wettimuny and Dias led, Duleep Mendis followed.

But whereas Wettimuny and Dias had made steady progress, playing with style and composure, Mendis bludgeoned the Indian attack.

His 64 runs came off 55 balls and included three sixes, one each off Kapil Dev, Karson Ghavri and Mohinder Amarnath.

Sudath Pasqual, the youngest player in the tournament, joined in the fun, scoring 23 off 26 deliveries in a partnership that added 52 runs in seven overs.

Pasqual, in his second and final match for his country, was still in at the end when Sri Lanka closed on 238 for five.

Due to rain, India had to wait until the following day to begin their reply, which they did with due assuredness.

Sunil Gavaskar and Anshuman Gaekwad made a first-wicket stand of 60 and all India's batsmen looked comfortable, each of the top six reaching double figures.

However none of them were able to go and register the necessary big score, Dillip Vengsarkar top scoring with 36.

The trouble began when Gundappa Viswanath ran himself out with the score on 119 shortly after lunch.

Somachandra de Silva then ripped through the heart of the batting line up, dismissing Vengsarkar, Brijesh Patel and Amarnath.

Strike bowler Antony Opatha then returned to the attack to sweep through the tail with three wickets of his own to seal a memorable victory.

Sri Lanka had performed their first act of giantkilling, and although more publicised victories came in 1996, the 1979 version remains the original, if not the best.

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