Rohit Sharma’s century (124*) and MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 67 runs helped Team India register a six-wicket win in the third ODI to seal the series against Sri Lanka in Kandy. Earlier, Jasprit Bumrah (5/27) who took fifer restricting the Sri Lankan innings to a mere 217/9 in allotted 50 overs.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 217/9 (Lahiru Thirimanne 80, Dinesh Chandimal 36; Jasprit Bumrah 5/27, Kedar Jadhav 12/1) lost to India 218/4 (Rohit Sharma 124*, MS Dhoni 67*; Akila Dananjaya 2/38) by 6 wickets.
Sri Lanka’s stand-in captain Chamara Kapugedera won the toss and opted to bat first. Team India showed their trust in the same set of players that had gotten them a 2-0 lead while Thirimanne and Chandimal were brought in for the suspended Tharanga and the injured Gunathilaka.
Chandimal, Thirimanne resurrect Sri Lankan innings
Sri Lanka found themselves in trouble in the powerplay overs with both pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah gaining enough purchase off the wicket to trouble the batsmen. However, Bhuvneshwar failed to pick any wickets with the new ball and his frustration was compounded by a couple of fielding errors at the third man boundary with both resulting in boundaries. Niroshan Dickwella survived a leg-before-decision after failing to connect a yorker on leg stump off Bumrah, but his joy was short-lived as Bumrah sent him packing with a similar delivery two balls later. Bumrah struck again with Kusal Mendis edging one to second slip with Rohit Sharma completing a neat catch diving to his right with the scoreboard reading 28/2. With the hosts making only 37 in the powerplay, Chandimal and Thirimanne focussed on rebuilding the innings, and their gritty 72-run alliance for the third wicket helped the Lankan lions reach 100/3 in 26th over.
Bumrah hands India the initiative with his maiden fifer
In the very next over, Hardik Pandya got India the breakthrough they desperately needed as he wrapped up Chandimal’s innings. Angelo Mathews joined Thirimanne at the crease and the duo added runs, via singles and doubles, and in the 32nd over, they targeted Chahal who conceded 8 runs which took the score to 125/3. Sri Lanka needed to up the tempo if they wanted to reach a defendable total but it was easier said than done owing to the brilliance of the Indian bowlers. Chahal was picked by the Sri Lankans as the weak link and in the 34th over, Thirimanne sent his ball for a maximum to end up with 9 runs in the over. It was Jadhav who got India the
Rohit and Dhoni stabilize innings after top order collapse
Rohit Sharma opened India’s account with a four on Lasith Malinga’s delivery and Shikhar Dhawan followed suit by hitting Vishwa Fernando for a boundary in the next one. However, the latter’s stay at the crease was a short on as he was cleaned up by Malinga in the next over. Virat Kohli came in next but he, too, did not fare any better as he flicked a ball down the throat of Chameera at long leg, adding just three runs to the total. Rahul and Rohit took the score to a respectable 35/2 in 10 overs but just as the duo started accelerating Dananjaya got rid of Rahul. Dananjaya got the Lankans roaring back into the game by dismissing Jadhav in the very next over leaving India reeling at 63/4 after 16 overs. The incoming Dhoni realized that he needed to play the anchor innings so as to prevent a collapse like the second ODI. Rohit, however, played the role of the aggressor and by the end of the 25th over, the duo had notched up a 50-run partnership - 42 runs of which came from the bat of Rohit. India had managed to reach 113/4 and with two set batsmen at the crease, they looked like they
India handed the win after crowd get violent
Dhoni was still struggling to get the ball away scoring just 13 runs off 30 deliveries. But, at the other end, Rohit continued to rotate the strike and put the bad balls away to the boundary. They targeted most experienced bowler Malinga at the 28th over and grabbed 8 runs which included a boundary which took the score to 125/4. Over the next three overs, the Indian duo managed 14 runs and in the desperate need of a wicket, the Sri Lankan skipper handed the bowl to Dananjaya, who had been the only positive in the second ODI for Sri Lanka. But Sharma dispatched him for six and the bowler conceded 9 runs in his over. Chameera conceded six runs in the 35th over, the last ball of which resulted in Sharma bringing up his century. In the next over, Sharma continued to display his attacking brand of cricket as he got a maximum in Fernando’s next over. Dhoni supported him well by getting a boundary in Chameera’s next over as he conceded eight runs this time. At the end of the 40th over, India had reached 186/4 and needed only 32 runs in the next 60 balls. Dananjaya and Siriwardana tried to stem the run flow but it was too late. By the end of the 44th over, not only had Dhoni brought up his half century, India needed just eight runs to secure the series. The Kandy crowd had seen enough as they began through bottles onto the ground. The players were asked to leave the field while the stewards tried to calm the crowd. When the match was restarted India took just seven more balls to seal the win.