Fine bowling by pacer Umesh Yadev and left-arm spinner Akshar Patel backed by excellent batting by Shikhar Dhawan and captain Virat Kohli steered India to a comfortable series-clinching six-wicket victory in the third ODI here at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
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Sri Lanka hardly came to the party, bar a battling effort from Mahela Jayawardene, and the Indians cantered to another one-sided win, wrapping up the five-match rubber with two to go. Dhawan struck a scintillating 79-ball 91, while Virat Kohli had a welcome return to form with 53 (off 61) as India completed a successful chase of 243 runs for the loss of four wickets with 35 balls to spare. Wriddhiman Saha struck the winning runs to conclude another one-sided contest.
Earlier, Mahela Jayawardene struck his 17th One-day International century to guide Sri Lanka to 242, earning him the man-of-the-match award. Sri Lanka committed the cardinal sin of not batting out their 50 overs, [contentblock id=2 img=adsense.png] leaving 10 deliveries unused, however, they would be quite relieved that they managed to get this far into their innings. The visitors were in real trouble on 158 for seven before Jayawardene (118) and Seekkuge Prasanna put some backbone into the innings adding 67 vital runs for the eighth wicket.
Having opted to bat, Sri Lanka’s innings started off in terrible fashion, as they lost Kusal Perera (4) and Kumar Sangakkara for a first-ball duck, but Tillakaratne Dilshan (50) and Jayawardene calmed the nerves, adding 105 for the third wicket.
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A middle-order collapse of four wickets for 14 runs required the mastery of Jayawardene (who passed 12,000 One-day International runs in the process) to put the visitors in a position from which they had a chance to keep the series alive. Jayawardene hit 12 fours and a six and faced 124 balls in his rescue act. Yadav bagged 4-53 and Patel took 3-40. The tour now moves to Kolkata for the fourth match on Thursday. The final encounter will be staged in Ranchi in a week’s time.