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India v Sri Lanka, Group A
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 26 May 1999

Ganguly, Dravid hit centuries - India massive 373 for 6

TAUNTON, Wednesday - Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid hit centuries apiece and shared the first triple century partnership in one-day internationals as they put defending champions Sri Lanka virtually out of the '99 World Cup by running up a massive 373 for 6 wickets in their Group 'A' match played at the County grounds here today.

Sri Lanka need to beat India to stay in the competition, but face a massive task of overhauling their opponents total.

Contrary to what had happened in the previous three matches, Sri Lanka's bowlers and fielders gave their worst ever performance in the tournament. The fielding was atrocious with innumerable catches being spilled and the bowling was made to look like a Sunday afternoon romp as Ganguly and Dravid made mincemeat of the attack.

Left-hander Ganguly notched up a magnificent 183 off 158 balls hitting 17 fours and seven sixes to become India's highest scorer in one-day internationals beating Kapil Dev's 175 not out against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells in the 1983 World Cup. It was his seventh century in one-day internationals.

Dravid, continued from where he left off at Bristol last Sunday, to post his second consecutive century of the tournament. He made 145 off 129 balls with one six and 17 fours and dominated the world record second wicket stand of 308 which came off 45 overs. His previous innings was an unbeaten 104 against Kenya.

Sri Lanka's success with the toss and the capture of an early wicket - that of Sadagopan Ramesh who was bowled by Chaminda Vaas for five, was shortlived as Ganguly and Dravid took full charge of the bowling to thrash it all parts of the ground. On the face of the Ganguly-Dravid partnership the Sri Lankan fielding wilted and the bowlers lost their control.

On a good batting track and small outfield the runs were their for the taking and the Indian pair made full use of it to run up the highest total ever made by them in one-day international beating the 329 for 2 off 50 overs against Kenya at Bristol on Sunday.

It didn't take long for Ganguly and Dravid to discover that Sri Lanka's opening bowlers were not quick enough to force them onto the back foot. The left and right-hand combination batted splendidly scoring runs freely off the front foot.

All the bowlers suffered the batting onslaught and the final figures made sorry reading for the world champions.

The Ganguly-Dravid stand erased the previous highest for any wicket of 275 for the second by Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja for India against Zimbabwe at Cuttack in 1997-98.

Source: The Daily News