Proteas back in the hunt after beating Sri Lanka


Wed, Jan 25, 2006 - Page 20

Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan surpassed 400 wickets in one-day internationals yesterday, but couldn't prevent South Africa from beating Sri Lanka by nine runs to keep alive its chances of winning cricket's limited-overs tri-series.

Opener Boeta Dippenaar carried his bat for 125 to anchor South Africa's innings of 263 for five and Sri Lanka were 254-8 when their overs dwindled away, with Tillakaratne Dilshan on strike and stranded on 83.

The win compacted standings at the midpoint of the three-nation series, leaving Australia in the lead with 10 points, Sri Lanka with nine and South Africa, back in the hunt, with eight. Sri Lanka plays Australia in the next match tomorrow.

Murali took two wickets within two balls in his opening over yesterday to pass 400 wickets in his 263rd limited-overs match, setting that mark alongside his 584 wickets in tests.

He became only the third player after the Pakistan pace duo of Wasim Akram (502) and Waqar Younis (416) to reach 400 wickets in limited overs games, on the ground on which he was called for throwing by umpire Ross Emerson in 1999.

Dippenaar reached his highest one-day score, carrying his bat through a 50-overs innings for the second time in his one-day career and becoming the second South African after Gary Kirsten to do so more than once.

His innings and Herschelle Gibb's 68 allowed South Africa to reach a competitive total after Sri Lanka shackled their scoring through the early part of their innings. South Africa went 23 overs, between the 13th and 36th overs, without hitting a boundary but Dippenaar's steady accumulation and Gibbs' sprightly innings of 65 balls lifted their run rate.

The second cricket Test between Pakistan and India moved toward a tame draw yesterday as the bat continued to dominate the ball on a heartbreaking pitch for bowlers.

Younis Khan (64) and Kamran Akmal (59) carried Pakistan to 152-1 at stumps on the fourth day, a lead of 137 and with little to play for on the fifth and final day today.

India scored 603 in their first innings to gain a slender 15-run lead over Pakistan's 588 on a day when bowlers toiled in search of wickets for the second successive Test in the series.

The high-scoring first Test ended in a draw in Lahore. The final Test starts in Karachi on Sunday.

For India, Mahendra Dhoni (148) and Irfan Pathan (90) dashed Pakistan's hopes of gaining a first-innings lead. The hosts could not contain the Indians on the easy-paced pitch.