SL vs Ind: Rohit, Dhoni guide India to series-clinching victory
Pallekele: Batting becomes effortless when Rohit Sharma gets going and run chases become easy with MS Dhoni's calmness. That was the story of today's game where Rohit and Dhoni's heroic powered India to six-wicket victory in 45.1 overs against Sri Lanka in the third ODI at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
With this win, India took an unassailable lead in the five-match series.
Rohit and MSD took India out of the tough situation when India lost its four wickets with just 62 on the board. At one hand Rohit played a splendid 124-run knock while on the other end MSD displayed what he is known for and defused the tense situation.
Rohit's scintillating 145-ball 124-run knock was laced with 16 fours and two sixes. While, Mahi was also at his very best and scored 67 with four boundaries and one six.
The duo forged an unbeaten 157-run partnership for the fifth wicket but just when eight runs were needed, the crowd hurled bottles in the ground and the match had to be stopped. After a long wait, the umpires decided to call off the match.
But, after the players left the field after the customary handshakes, security persons got the stadium emptied of spectators and the umpires then decided to resume the match.
Rohit and Dhoni made short shrift of the required eight runs.
Chasing 217-run total, India saw early damages in form of Shikhar Dhawan (5) and Virat Kohli (3). Lokesh Rahul once again proven a failure as got out at 17.
Kedar Jadhav, who was once again sent ahead of Dhoni, departed at 1. Then came cool Dhoni and together with the Hit-man executed things very right.
For Sri Lanka, spinner Akila Dananjaya scalped two wickets while pacers Lasith Malinga and Vishwa Fernando took one wicket each.
Earlier, in the lines of Jasprit Bumrah’s maiden five wicket haul, Indian Cricket team continued its audacious show.
Apart from Thirimanne (80 runs off 108 balls), Dinesh Chandimal (36) contributed to the cause for the hosts.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat hoping to capitalise upon the overcast conditions. But it appeared as if their batsman had not learnt any lesson from their previous defeats as many in-form and experienced batters were dismissed while playing carelessly.
Apart from Thirimanne and Chandimal, no other batsman applied themselves sensibly and thus were dismissed on sloppy shots.
India, too, were a little sloppy on the field but unlike other matches pace bowlers also contributed handsomely this time around.
Top-order batsmen Niroshan Dickwella (13) and Kusal Mendis (1) failed to support Chandimal at the other end and were sent packing early and the scoreboard read 28/2.
Middle-order batsmen Angelo Mathews (11) and Chamara Kapugedera (14) also returned to the pavilion without adding much to the team’s score.
Milinda Siriwardana (29), however, tried to stabilise the innings but just when things seemed a little good for the hosts, rain played the spoilsport for a few minutes.
After the resumption of play, the hosts failed to continue the momentum as Siriwardana was removed quickly by Jasprit Bumrah to leave the hosts reeling at 201/8.
Lower-order batsmen — Akila Dananjaya (1), Dushmantha Chameera (6) and Vishwa Fernando (3) — then tried to pace up the innings but failed in doing so and the hosts were restricted to 217 runs.
For India, pacer Bumrah scalped five wickets while Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel and Kedar Jadhav chipped in with one wicket each.