Kumar Sangakkara Sri Lanka Ambati Rayudu India
Ambati Rayudu smashes one to the boundary during his brilliant unbeaten ton against Sri LankaIANS

It was not as emphatic as the first one, but it was equally comfortable and impressive as India, courtesy a maiden century from Ambati Rayudu, cruised to their second straight victory over Sri Lanka in the 2nd ODI in Ahmedabad.

After posting a mammoth total, after being put into bat in the first ODI in Cuttack, the roles were reversed this time as Sri Lanka chose to bat, and put on a decent but never-gonnabe-enough-to-worry-India 274 for eight in their 50 overs.

Angelo Mathews was the man for Sri Lanka with the bat, making runs at will under the sunshine in Ahmedabad, but that was all she wrote for the away team in the first innings as the bowlers put in another commendable performance for India.

Sri Lanka would have envisaged posting a score of a similar ilk that India managed in the first one-day international, after deciding to bat first, but despite some promise here and there, the innings was derailed in that dreaded batting Powerplay as the visitors finished on 274 for eight in their 50 overs.

The only batsman to really look comfortable in the middle for a considerable period of time was Mathews, who scored a wonderful unbeaten 92 in 101 balls (10x4, 1x6), with Kumar Sangakkara also crossing the half-century mark, even if he never really looked like his usual elegant self.

In reply, India made a circumspect start, with Ajinkya Rahane falling early, but once Shikhar Dhawan (79, 80b, 7x4, 1x6) and Rayudu (121 n.o., 118b, 10x4, 4x6) found their groove there was only going to be one result as the home team hauled down the target in 44.3 overs with six wickets to spare.

Rahane was picked up by Dhammika Prasad in the seventh over, with the right-hander throwing his hands at a delivery that just swung away only to find the outside edge. Sangakkara, who dropped two crucial catches in the first ODI, made a hash of the catch behind the wicket again, but the ball lobbed up for an alert Mahela Jayawardene to grasp it with his left hand diving from first slip.

Sri Lanka should have had another wicket in the very next over, with Dhawan edging one off the impressive Lahiru Gamage, but umpire Bruce Oxenford did not see or hear the outside edge.

That decision proved to be crucial, as Dhawan took full advantage, putting on a match-winning 122-run partnership with Ambati Rayudu.

Both batsmen took their time to get going, with India at one point only on a mere 71 for one in 19 overs. However, the longer they stayed at the crease the more dangerous it was for Sri Lanka, and Dhawan unfurled his range of strokes in the blink of an eye, thumping Thisara Perera for a six and two fours in three balls to build that momentum.

There was no looking back for India from there as the both batsmen got to their half-centuries. Dhawan was a joy to watch as always, while Rayudu battled on after struggling early, with his perseverance paying off eventually.

The one aspect that Rayudu needs to improve on is picking up the singles and rotating the strike, particularly early on in the innings, but props must go to the right-hander for seeing through a difficult phase and then cutting loose in splendid style to score his first century in ODI cricket.

Dhawan fell in the 27th over to Seekkuge Prasanna, holing out in the deep, with India needing 135 runs in 23 and a bit overs, but, unfortunately for Sri Lanka, in came the run-machine Virat Kohli, who easy as pie stormed to 49 (44b, 2x4, 2x6), with Suresh Raina then coming in and adding the finishing touches as Rayudu basked in the glory of his century by scoring the winning runs with an authoritative boundary.

Akshar Patel India
India spinner Akshar Patel celebrates with his teammates after picking up a Sri Lanka wicketPal Pillai/Sportzpics/BCCI

Earlier, Kusal Perera walked in to open the innings with Tillakaratne Dilshan, with Upul Tharanga left out, and the former could not make use of the opportunity as Umesh Yadav had him trapped in front in the first over.

However, with the big three of Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene to bat, along with Mathews, Sri Lanka would still have had their sights on a big total, and that total looked like zooming towards the 300 mark when Dilshan smashed R Ashwin for 18 runs in the tenth over – via four straight fours – after a circumspect opening.

The momentum from Dilshan's (35, 30b, 7x4) blade would not carry through, though, as Akshar cannot-really-hit-him-at-will Patel (10-1-39-2) got one to hurry through and hit the timber.

Sangakkara and Jayawardene, the standout batsman for Sri Lanka in the first one-day international in Cuttack, looked to use their experience to take their side to a position of comfort, but a false stroke from Mahela (4, 11b) saw the ball flying to Ambati Rayudu at midwicket with Ashwin (10-1-49-2) picking up his first wicket.

At 64 for three in the 14th over, Sri Lanka were desperate for a partnership, and they got just that as Sangakkara, hanging in there despite not being at his best, and Mathews put on 90 precious runs together in 18 and a half overs.

Mathews was the aggressor, finding the middle of that willow right from the off, and hitting those boundaries whenever they were needed. Sangakkara only managed four fours in his 86-ball 61 and it was almost typical of his scratchy innings that he fell to a full toss from Yadav (10-1-54-2), mistiming one to long-on.

That wicket came in the second over of the batting Powerplay, and Sri Lanka would have a nightmare after that as they lost a couple more with Seeekkuge Prasanna and Ashan Priyanjan walking back without making too much of an impression. Sri Lanka eventually only managed 30 runs in that five-over spell, while losing momentum and three wickets.

All the onus now lay on Mathews, and the skipper did not look too phased by those flurry of wickets, tonking Ravindra Jadeja for 20 runs, with a little help from Thisara Perera, in the 40th over to take Sri Lanka past the 200-run mark.

The momentum would be quelled there, however, as Thisara Perera (10, 11b, 1x6) fell soon after, with the visitors managing 69 runs in the final ten overs – thanks to a 54-run ninth wicket partnership between Mathews and Prasad (30 n.o., 28b, 4x4) -- to set India a far-from-daunting target.

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