By CricketCountry Staff
Colombo: Jul 28, 2012
A gritty hundred by Gautam Gambhir and a valiant fifty by Suresh Raina in the death overs helped India chase Sri Lanka’s 287 runs target by five wickets in the third One-Day International (ODI) at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Chasing a big total, India lost opener Virender Sehwag cheaply in the second over. The opener scored only three runs before falling to Thisara Perera, giving a simple catch to substitute fielder Senanayake.
Gambhir held the Indian fort as he weaved a crucial partnership with the in-form Virat Kohli for the second wicket.
India suffered a setback as Kohli spooned a simple catch back to Rangana Herath, departing in the 21st over.
The vice-captain added 105 runs for the second wicket with Gambhir before being dismissed for 38 runs.
Gambhir - India’s only successful batsman in the second ODI - did not lose focus after Kohli's exit and scored his second successive fifty in the 17th over.
Herath, who broke the 105-run partnership for the second wicket also succeded to put brakes on India’s scoring rate with his tight bowling.
India’s Mr. Dependable in run-chases in ODIs, MS Dhoni joined Gambhir and started to resurrect Indian run-chase without taking risks.
A double-blow by Lasith Malinga in the 36th over jolted Indian run-chase as Dhoni and Rohit Sharma were dismissed on back-to-back deliveries.
Malinga did not succeed in getting the hat-trick but the world champions in ODIs suffered a real setback when centurion Gambhir was run out by Isuru Udana in the 36 overs with India needing another 91 runs with over eleven overs in hand. Gambhir made valiant 102 runs.
Irfan Pathan and Raina consolidated Indian innings for the sixth wicket as Malinga continued to create pressure in his fiery second spell.
Both the Indian batsmen batted sensibly to contribute to a tough run-chase with a valiant fifty-run partnership. Raina, under pressure hit a six off the first ball of the 47th over to bring his 23rd fifty.
The southpaw, with a level-headed approach steered India to a win with two balls to spare. He was well complimented by Pathan as the two stitched a 92-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Earlier, a 121-run partnership between Kumara Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and late slogging by Angelo Mathews along with Jeevan Mendis propelled Sri Lanka to 286 runs.
After winning the toss, the hosts failed to make an impressive start as the explosive batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan was dismissed early. He was bowled after scoring only four runs off the bowling of Zaheer Khan in the third over.
Despite losing early wickets, the experienced duo of Sangakkara and Jayawardene began resurrection of Sri Lankan innings as the Indian team failed to dislodge either of the two batsmen.
The duo continued to grind the Indian bowlers for the fourth wicket. They reached their 14th hundred-run partnership in ODIs on Saturday.
After the departure of both the senior batsmen, Sri Lanka maintained their momentum as all-rounder Angelo Mathews, along with Jeevan Mendis added 104 runs for the sixth wicket to set a huge target of 287 runs for the visitors.
India, with the win at R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday have a 2-1 lead in the five-match ODI series.
Brief Score: Sri Lanka 286 for 5 in 50 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 73, Mahela Jayawardene 65; Zaheer Khan 2 for 39) lost to India 288 for 5 in 49.4 overs (Gautam Gambhir 102, Suresh Raina 65, Virat Kohli 38; Lasith Malinga 2 for 60) by 5 wickets.
Man-of-the-match: Suresh Raina