India victorious as Tendulkar wins battle of the big hitters

 

SACHIN TENDULKAR reduced his much awaited showdown with Brian Lara to a no contest as India defeated the West Indies by five wickets in the World Cup yesterday. The Indian vice captain hit a superb 70 off 91 balls to lead the home side's impressive win in the key day night encounter after the West Indies were shot out for a modest 173 - Lara contributing just two.

Lara was unfortunate to have been given caught out off seamer Javagal Srinath as television replays showed the ball may have brushed the pads - instead of the bat - before carrying on to wicket keeper Nayan Mongia. Lara, who appeared surprised at Pakistani umpire Khizr Hayat's decision, then saw his own wicketkeeper Courtney Browne drop an easy catch when Tendulkar was on 22 in India's score of 36 for two.

Tendulkar top edged an intended pull off fast bowler Ian Bishop, but Sherwin Campbell, at short square leg, allowed Browne to go for the catch. The wicketkeeper ran under the ball but failed to grasp it. The let off proved costly: Tendulkar and skipper Azharuddin put on 79 for the third wicket to ease the pressure caused by early dismissals of Ajay Jadeja and Navjot Sidhu.

Tendulkar, who made an unbeaten 127 against Kenya, hit eight boundaries in his man of the match effort before being run out in a horrible mix up with Vinod Kambli, who refused his call for a sharp single. Kambli made amends with 33 not out - including a huge six over midwicket against Otis Gibson - as India scored the remaining 49 runs for victory with 10.2 overs to spare.

A record breaking third wicket stand of 172 between Aravinda de Silva and Asanka Gurusinha helped Sri Lanka crush Zimbabwe by six wickets in their group A match in Colombo. Replying to Zimbabwe's 228 for six, Sri Lanka scored 229 for four in just 37 overs to seal their win.

De Silva and Gurusinha came together with the Sri Lankan innings in tatters after the early loss of both openers for just 23 in 4 overs. Matching each other stroke for stroke, the pair first consolidated and then cut loose in a glorious exhibition of power play.