Yuvraj Singh turned in an electrifying all-round performance as India defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in Mohali yesterday to square the two-match Twenty20 international series. The Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara had threatened to upstage the home side again by smashing a belligerent 59 off just 31 deliveries as his side piled up a massive 206 for seven.
Virender Sehwag, who slammed 64 off 36 deliveries, then got the chase off to a solid start and MS Dhoni contributed 46, but Yuvraj, who also claimed three for 23, overshadowed those performances with an undefeated 60 off 25 balls as India overhauled the target with five deliveries to spare. It was the highest successful chase in Twenty20 internationals. Yuvraj, who turned 28 yesterday, was dropped on 40 in a Nuwan Kulasekara over from which he hit 23 and reached 50 off just 20 deliveries.
India, well in control by then, suffered a minor blip as Dhoni and Suresh Raina were dismissed in quick succession, but Yuvraj finished off the game with a six. The two sides meet again in Rajkot on Tuesday in the first of five one-day internationals. England believe they will be taking only a small risk on James Anderson's fitness in the first Test against South Africa, which starts in Centurion on Wednesday, barring any negative physical reaction to the 15 overs he bowled yesterday.
Seeking to prove his well-being as he continues to battle a mystery knee injury, Anderson managed one wicket - to Ryan Sidebottom's five - on the second and final day of a drawn match against a South African Invitational XI at Buffalo Park. Sidebottom, also back after injury, finished with five for 42 in a home total of 263 all out in reply to 317 for five declared. Only Sidebottom and Luke Wright escaped largely unscathed as David Wiese (80) and Charl Pietersen (64) plundered a string of boundaries in an afternoon fightback, after the hosts had faltered to 76 for five.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori hit his fifth Test century on the second day of the third Test against Pakistan in Napier yesterday. Vettori (100 not out) and Brendon McCullum, the wicket-keeper, (89) put on 176 for the sixth wicket as the home side finished on 346 for six - a lead of 123. * PA