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Friday, April 19, 2024

Gambhir, Raina guide India to victory

Sangakkara, Jayawardene steady Lanka

NEW DELHI: Gautam Gambhir (102) and Suresh Raina (65*) propelled India to a five wickets victory over Sri Lanka in the third ODI as they took 2-1 lead in the five-match series.Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan shared an unbeaten 50 runs stand to lead India’s fightback against Sri Lanka in the third ODI of the five-match series in Colombo.India suffered a massive blow as Gautam Gambhir got run-out after making a century against Sri Lanka. Gambhir, who scored his 11th ODI ton, smashed 10 fours in his 102 runs knock off 101 balls that kept India in hunt in the match.Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga dismissed Dhoni and Rohit Sharma on successive deliveries to rock India’s chase and left India at 180/4 in 35.2 overs. India lost the second wicket when Rangana Herath scalped Virat Kohli.Chasing 287-run target, Kohli and Gambhir added 105 runs partnership for the second wicket to steady India’s chase after losing Virender Sehwag early. Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera struck to dismiss Virender Sehwag and give India huge blow.Gambhir notched up quick-fire 43 balls fifty to lead India innings, smashing seven boundaries all over the park.Earlier, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene knocked impressive half-centuries to lead Sri Lanka to a challenging 286 for five.The experienced combination of Jayawardene (65) and Sangakkara (73) mixed caution with aggression adding 121 runs in 23.5 overs for a fourth-wicket, after home team were in a spot of bother tottering at 20 for three.__PAGEBREAK__The duo provided the perfect launch pad for Angelo Matthews (71 not out) and Jeevan Mendis (45 not out) to accelerate in the end, adding 50 runs for the last five overs.Matthews’ 57-ball 71 consisted of five fours and a six, Mendis’ 40-ball 45 was laced with three fours and a six off Dinda over the mid-wicket boundary.For India, pacer Zaheer Khan was the most impressive of the lot as he accounted for two wickets while Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda and Rahul Sharma chipped in with a wicket apiece.Electing to bat, Sri Lanka were off to a poor start as they were three down with just 20 runs inside sixth over.Zaheer gave the visitors the first breakthrough as he sent back last match’s half-centurion Tillakaratne Dilshan (4) in his second over of the innings. The opener was unlucky as he had no idea where the ball went after he defended it off the front foot and all it did was to trickle down towards stumps.Upul Tharanga (8) had a few nervous moments before he chased a wide delivery from Khan that was wide outside off-stump and got a thick outside edge which was lapped up by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.Comeback man, Irfan Pathan did not allow Dinesh Chandimal to get off the mark as he was stuck on the crease to a ball that pitched on about middle and leg and then straightened, rapped him on the back leg and the umpire had no hesitation in raising the finger.It was then left to the experienced duo of Sangakkara and Jayawardene to do the repair work.Both batted responsibly to steer their team out of the woods and ensure that they put up a good fighting total on the board.Jayawardene reached his 68th ODI fifty with a couple off R Ashwin, Sangakkara got to his 73rd ODI half-century and 16th against India with a single down the ground.While Jayawardene hit five fours in his 79-ball innings, Sangakkara faced 95 balls for his commendable effort and found the fence six times.Jayawardene, who had started to open up with some lovely sweeps & reverse sweep was sent back by leg-spinner Rahul Sharma.Jayawardene went on the back foot attempting to work the ball away but it hurried on and hit him in front of leg stump.The Sri Lankan did not look too pleased with umpire Kumar Dharmasena’s decision.Dinda then took out Sangakkara in the 38th over when the Sri Lankan failed to connect a fuller ball just outside the off-stump and gifted a simple catch to Virat Kohli at point.Sri Lanka managed just 24 runs from the Batting Powerplay with just two boundaries and the loss of Sangakkara.That’s a period where India looked to have pulled some loose strings but Matthews and Mendis pummeled the Indian bowling with some lusty hitting. Teams:Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Rangana Herath, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga.India: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (captain), Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Rahul Sharma, Ashok Dinda.

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