Posted by Gareth Parry Added on: August 04 2012
India 294 for 7 (Gambhir 88, Tiwary 65, Dhoni 58, Malinga 3-64) beat Sri Lanka 274 (Thirimanne 77, Mendis 72, Irfan 5-61) by 20 runs
India Win the Seires 4-1
Having secured the series with victory in the fourth ODI India were aiming for another victory knowing that if they were to win and finish the series 4-1 they would move up to second in the ODI standings. Sri Lanka took the opportunity of a dead rubber to rest Jayawardene with Angelo Mathews taking over the captaincy.
Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first with the aim of pressing home his sides advantage. The Indian batting line up performed well to post a commanding total of 295.
Sri Lanka started strongly taking three wickets inside the first twenty overs. Perera and Pradeep were the men to strike with Pradeep being particularly impressive. He picked up the wickets of Kohli and the struggling Rohit Sharma in his spell. His dismissal of Sharma was particularly impressive with the batsman missing a ball which moved off the seam and knock over his off stump. Sharma's failure completed a dismal series for him in which he scored only 13 runs in five innings.
With three wickets down Gambhir and Tiwary were looking to rebuild the Indian innings. They both played in a circumspect fashion and looked to score the majority of their runs in singles and twos. Their partnership of 110 guided the visitors to 197 for three at the end of the 37th over.
With only three wickets down and 13 overs the Indian side were threatening to run away with the match and post a colossal score. However a brilliant spell from Malinga brought the Sri Lankans back into the match. He picked up the wickets of Tiwary and Raina in consecutive deliveries. His efforts were backed up by Senanayake who picked up Gambhir. Both Gambhir and Tiwary had passed their half century with Gambhir top scoring with 88.
With the visitors reduced to 213 for 6 Sri Lanka will have hoped to restrict the Indians to around 270. However Dhoni showed once again why he is considered one of the best finishers in the one day game. He and Pathan added 77 in a little under ten overs as he finished with 58 from just 38 deliveries. His innings was vital in taking India to 295 and although it was not the top score of the innings it was arguably the most important contribution.
Sri Lanka started the chase brightly racing past 50 in the first six overs. They continued to score at well above the required run rate however their efforts were hampered by the loss of regular wickets.
They had reached 102 by the start of the 16th over but the fall of Kapugedera was their fifth lost wicket in that same period. Irfan Pathan was in particularly good form and had picked up the wickets of both Dilshan and Tharanga, the Sri Lankan openers.
This left Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis the task of rebuilding their sides innings. They put on a partnership of 102 to keep the Sri Lankan hopes alive. Thirimanne was the Sri Lankan top scorer reaching 77 in a superb 6th wicket stand. He was also the man to fall in a disastrous run out which likely cost his side the game. He and Mendis became completely confused with Kohli, who fielded the ball at mid wicket, taking advantage to return the ball to the bowler who in turn fed the ball to Dhoni behind the stumps to complete an unlikely run out.
Had Thirimanne and Mendis batted together for another five over the outcome of the game would likely have gone in the home sides favour. However this crucial and rather fortunate breakthrough provided the Indian bowlers with all the motivation they needed to pick up the remaining four wickets. Irfan Pathan was the man who took greatest advantage of Sri Lankans exposed tail and picked up three wickets in the 43rd and 45th overs to finish with excellent figures of 10-0-61-5.
The final wicket fell in the 46th over with Sri Lanka falling 20 runs short. They once again looked fragile without the experience of Sangakkara and Jayawardene. The victory lifted India to second in the ODI rankings as they once again showed how strong there are in sub continental conditions.