Watch: Sanath Jayasuriya smashes Sri Lanka to win, Manoj Prabhakar into retirement
Watch: In a 1996 World Cup match in Delhi, Sanath Jayasuriya smashed a 76-ball 79 to help Sri Lanka chase 272 easily and end Manoj Prabhakar’s international career.
Before the 1996 World Cup, the Indian fans had heard of Sri Lanka flipping the batting order in ODIs, using the explosive Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana at the top and a Test opener, Roshan Mahanama, down the order. They had watched them on television.
But they were not particularly concerned once Sachin Tendulkar’s 137 and Mohammad Azharuddin’s 72 took India to 271-3. It was a reasonably big total in 1996.
It took Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana three overs to leave the crowd at the Feroz Shah Kotla shell-shocked. Prabhakar, the local man, had been bowling the first over since Kapil Dev’s retirement. His first two overs went for 33. “Could be over in 15 overs,” quipped Tony Greig on air.
Hitting of that order has become common in the Twenty20 era, but in 1996 they were virtually unheard of.
Anil Kumble took an excellent catch to dismiss Kaluwitharana, but Jayasuriya marched on. He took his time, for India had four specialist bowlers, and Jayasuriya had already hit one of them out of the attack.
He eventually fell for a 76-ball 79. India probably sniffed a chance at 141-4. After the catch, Kumble ran out Asanka Gurusinha, and dismissed both Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva.
But promoting Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana had resulted in Arjuna Ranatunga and Hashan Tillakaratne coming together, with Mahanama and the bowling all-rounders to follow. Sri Lanka did not lose another wicket as Ranatunga and Tillakaratne negotiated the spin of Kumble and Tendulkar well.
Amidst the chase, Prabhakar had another go, with his off-breaks amidst loud boos from the local crowd. He finished with 4-0-47-0, and did not play international cricket again. However, he did catch Jayasuriya that day.