Match report: SL v Ind – 5th ODI
Kandy, Aug 4: Irfan Pathan put up an all-round performance as India beat Sri Lanka in the final One-Day International to win the five-match series 4-1. After his 28-ball 29* played a crucial role in helping India post a mammoth score of 294, Pathan took five wickets for 61 runs to restrict the hosts to 274.
Sri Lanka rested Mahela Jayawardene for this game and Angelo Mathews, therefore, led the side in Jayawardene’s absence. The other change made by the hosts was Chamara Kapugedera coming in for Rangana Herath. For India, Virender Sehwag was ruled out with a glute injury, which meant that Ajinkya Rahane got his first game of the series as MS Dhoni opted to bat first. Rahane (9), however, did not make the opportunity count; the opener was trapped lbw by Thisara Perera in the 6th over with India’s score at 29. Gautam Gambhir, who reached the 5000-run mark in ODIs with a boundary off Lasith Malinga in the fifth over, then put on a 48-run stand for the second wicket with Virat Kohli.
The visitors went past the 50-run mark in the ninth over, but a couple of quick wickets from Nuwan Pradeep in successive overs halted India’s momentum. Pradeep trapped Kohli (23) lbw before knocking over Rohit Sharma’s (4) stumps with a beautiful delivery that moved away after pitching.
Manoj Tiwary, playing just his second game of the series, nonetheless, helped India recover with a sprightly 110-run stand with Gambhir. Both batsmen used their feet to the Lankan spinners and ran well between the wickets to bring India to 197 for three at the end of the 37th over.
Lasith Malinga gave the home fans something to cheer when he had Tiwary (65) and Suresh Raina (0) caught off successive deliveries at the start of the 38th over. However, MS Dhoni ensured that the good work done by the top order was not frittered away. Batting with Irfan Pathan (29* off 28), Dhoni blitzed 58 off 38 balls, while being particularly severe on Perera, to help India to a competitive score of 294.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, who averaged 99.00 in four previous games at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, disappointed today. The Lankan opener was out caught by Zaheer Khan off Irfan Pathan for a third-ball duck in the second over. Upul Tharanga tried his best to help the hosts overcome the loss of Dilshan’s wicket with a quick 21-ball 31, but was caught at cover shortly after Sri Lanka had gone past the 50-run mark. The hosts lost three more wickets in quick succession to slide to 102 for five in 15.1 overs with Dinesh Chandimal (8), Angelo Mathews (13) and Chamara Kapugedera (9) all falling cheaply.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis stopped the slide with a 102-run stand. Thirimanne, who had brought up his half-century off 81 deliveries, picked up the scoring-rate as he smashed Manoj Tiwary for two big sixes over mid-wicket in the 34th over. The Lankan No. 3, however, couldn’t sustain the aggression. After surviving a dropped catch, Thirimanne (77) was involved in a mix-up with Mendis, which saw the former run-out with the Lankan score at 204.
With Thirimanne back in the changing room, Jeevan Mendis kept Sri Lanka on course with a 48-run stand with Thisara Perera (18 off 19) for the seventh wicket. However, with Sri Lanka needing 43 from 46 balls, Irfan Pathan picked up three of the last four wickets to bring an end to the hosts’ innings in the 46th over. Mendis made 72 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 274. Pathan picked up five wickets for 61 runs in 10 overs.
Brief scores: India 294/7 in 50.0 overs (Gautam Gambhir 88, Manoj Tiwary 65, Lasith Malinga 3/64) beat Sri Lanka 274/10 in 45.4 overs (Lahiru Thirimanne 77, Jeevan Mendis 72, Irfan Pathan 5/61) by 20 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Irfan Pathan for his all-round performance; 29* off 28 and 10-0-61-5
Man-of-the-series: Virat Kohli for putting in match-winning displays when India needed it the most.