Riding on half-centuries by Avishka Fernando (76, 98b, 4×4, 1×6) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (65, 56b, 12×4) and a superb show by their spinners, Sri Lanka eked out a three-wicket consolation win against a spirited India – who were playing five debutants for the first time since 1980 – in the third and final ODI on Friday at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

While the ODI series finished 2-1 in India’s favour, Sri Lanka will take some heart from their first win over India in 10 ODIs at home- it was the first time they beat the Asian giants on their home turf since July 24, 2012! It should boost them going into the opening T20 International between the teams on Sunday night.

A superb effort by leg-spinner Rahul Chahar (3-54) and his fellow debutant, left-arm seamer Chetan Sakaria (2-34), kept India in the game, as the Lankans lost a flurry of wickets towards the close. However, the bowlers didn’t have enough runs to defend.

After Gowtham, another debutant, had Minod Bhanuka (7) sweeping to Sakaria at square leg, Fernando – who slammed his second halfcentury on the trot which saw him become the series’ top run-getter (159 runs in three games@53.00) – and Rajapaksa added 109 in 105 balls to put the hosts in control. The partnership ended when Rajapaksa was caught brilliantly by Gowtham at deep backward square-leg off Sakaria.

The Saurashtra seamer then caught de Silva off his own bowling, foxing the batsman with a trademark back-of-the-hand slower one. Hardik Pandya also took a wicket, but went for 43 in five overs.

Earlier, India slipped badly from a strong position, losing nine wickets for 123 runs as Sri Lanka’s spinners triggered a tremendous fightback to skittle out the visitors for 225 in 43.1 overs after the game was reduced to 47 overs to each side post a rain interruption.

With Prithvi Shaw (49, 45b) and Sanju Samson (46, 45b) going great guns, India were cruising at 102 for one in the 16th over, before spinners Akila Dananjaya and Praveen Jayawickrama took three wickets each on a pitch aiding turn to leave the visitors tottering at 195 for eight in the 33rd over. A dogged 29-run partnership for the ninth wicket between Navdeep Saini and Rahul Chahar enabled India to reach 225.

While the batsmen showed poor application against spin, what would disappoint coach Rahul Dravid more is that three batsmen – Shaw, Samson and Suryakumar Yadav (40, 37b,) – fell in the 40s. Also concerning is the poor form of Hardik Pandya (19), who missed the line of a turning delivery by a mile to be out lbw to Jayawickrama.

SOURCE | Times of India

May be an image of text that says "BYJ dd BHANUKA 54/ 5 ck Sri Lanka Cricket SRI LANKA WON BY 3rd ODI WICKETS (D/L) INDIA 225 (43.1/47 OV) 网 SRI LANKA 227/7 (39/47 OV, TARGET 227) SriLanka Cricket 3rd ODI INDIA TOUR OF SRI LANKA 2021 Colombo, RPICS 23 July 2021"

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