India beat Sri Lanka by 20 runs to win series 4-1

India beat Sri Lanka by 20 runs to win series 4-1Pallekele: Indian team had a wonderful start to the new season as they routed Sri Lanka 4-1 in the five match ODI series after defeating them in the final one-day by 20 runs. India after the series win have climbed up to number two position in the ICC ODI rankings and are just points behind Australia who are leading the table.

India won the toss and elected to bat first, Indian team who won their last two matches chasing believed that the pitch will offer a bit for the seam bowlers under the light and that prompted the decision. Sri Lanka was missing their permanent captain, Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews was given the responsibility to captain the new looking Lankan side.

India had a new opening pair as Virender Sehwag had a slight niggle and he was replaced by Ajinkya Rahane. He however failed to grab the opportunity as he played across the line to an incoming Perera delivery. India’s star of the series, Virat Kohli then came in to bat, but he had a rare failure as he got out on 23. Gambhir on the other end played nicely and looked to provide a platform. After Virat’s wicket it was Rohit Sharma’s turn to disappoint once again. The man who is considered to have a lot of potential missed a straight delivery once again and ended the series with a total of 13 runs in five innings.

Gambhir got good support from his Kolkata Knight Riders teammate Manoj Tiwary. Both the players played cautiously and had a partnership of 110 runs for the fourth wicket. Gambhir though missed his century as he got out on 88.

Sri Lanka came back strongly picking up wickets of Tiwary and Raina on successive balls. That brought Indian captain MS Dhoni on the crease and he straightaway took the attack to the Lankan bowlers. He along with Pathan added crucial runs in the end and took the score close to 300 mark. Dhoni made 58 runs while Pathan remained unbeaten on 29.

In reply, Sri Lanka got off to a horrible start as their most experienced batsman Dilshan got out without scoring a run. He tried to play a shot on a very wide delivery from Pathan and gave an easy catch to Zaheer at third-man.

Other opener, Upul Tharanga played some good strokes before giving a catching practice to Rahane at cover to gift Pathan his third wicket. Sri Lanka kept losing wicket and lost half their side for the score of 102. Newcomers Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis from there played intelligent cricket and took Sri Lanka close to the Indian total with a partnership of 102 runs. But some confusion in the running saw Thirimanne lose his wicket.

Mendis however continued his innings and took the home team to a winning position. But two strikes from Irfan Pathan in one over ensured that India will take the match, he took one more wicket to become the first Indian seam bowler to take a five wicket haul in five years.

Brief Score:

India 294/7 (Gambhir 88, Tiwary 65, Malinga 3-64)

Sri Lanka 274 (Thirimanne 77, Mendis 72, Irfan 5-61)