IND V SL, 3rd ODI: Dhawan, Kuldeep, Chahal Star In Series Win For India

Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten 100 off 85 balls powered India to an eight-wicket victory in the final One-Day International against Sri Lanka in Visakhapatnam on Sunday (December 17). India clinched the three-match series 2-1, thus extending its unbeaten streak in bilateral ODI series to eight. Earlier, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, India’s wrist spinners, bundled out Sri Lanka for 215 in 44.5 overs; at one stage, Sri Lanka was 160 for 2 and had looked good for a 300-plus total.

India had a slow start to its chase as Sri Lanka opened the bowling with Suranga Lakmal and Akila Dananjaya. Rohit Sharma tried to break the shackles in the fourth over with a monstrous six over long-on off Dananjaya, but the bowler had his revenge two balls later. Dananjaya bamboozled the Indian captain with a googly, bowling him through the gate for 7. Dhawan continued his good form and provided the innings momentum alongside Shreyas Iyer.

Iyer got a life on 25 when he shaped to cut Sachith Pathirana, but Angelo Mathews at first slip couldn’t latch on to a difficult chance. Making the most of that reprieve, the young batsman reached his half-century in 44 balls. Soon after, Dhawan too brought up his second-consecutive 50-plus score with a six off Dananjaya.

The duo punished the Sri Lankan attack after reaching their individual milestones, hitting boundaries almost every other over. Thisara Perera broke the 135-run stand by dismissing Iyer for a 63-ball 65, which included eight fours and a six.

Dhawan completed 4000 ODI runs on the way to his 12th ODI ton, which included 13 fours and two sixes. He along with Dinesh Karthik (26) stitched an unbeaten 70-run partnership to see India home with almost 18 overs to spare.

In the morning, Rohit put Sri Lanka in after winning the toss on a pitch that looked tailor-made for batsmen. Danushka Gunathilaka started positively and had moved to 13 off 12 balls when he was caught at mid-on while trying to hit Jasprit Bumrah over the infield, and Sri Lanka was 15 for 1.

Upul Tharanga, who was more sedate till then, hit Bhuvneshwar Kumar for two fours in an over before taking 11 runs off Bumrah in the next. Hardik Pandya wasn’t spared either, as Tharanga struck five consecutive fours off him and raced to his fifty in just 36 balls.

Kuldeep, who had been dropped in the last match, would have got Samarawickrama out leg before wicket had India chosen to review the on-field decision when the batsman was on 15. The batsman got another life on 29 when Karthik grassed a difficult chance at short midwicket off the same bowler. He was eventually dismissed for 42, with Chahal ending the 121-run stand.

Tharanga, meanwhile, kept going on at the other end, bringing up 1000 ODI runs this calendar year with a straight six off Chahal. He was unlucky not to get his 16th ODI century, falling short by five runs, stumped off Kuldeep for 95. His 82-ball knock contained 12 fours and three sixes.

Niroshan Dickwella started with two fours off the first three balls he faced before guiding one to Iyer at the first slip in the same Kuldeep over. After that, the lower-middle order was exposed as the Indian spinners struck regularly to peg the visiting side back. Mathews, the centurion for Sri Lanka in the previous match, found it difficult to get going and was bowled for 17 off 28 as Sri Lanka was reduced to 189 for 5. Asela Gunaratne tried to hold the innings together, but wickets fell at the other end. Chahal rapped Perera in front for his third wicket of the match.

The score soon became 210 for 8 when Kuldeep dismissed Dananjaya for one when the batsman tried to sweep, only to be bowled around his legs with the ball hitting the top of off stump. Pandya came back strongly after the early hammering to end with 2 for 49 off his ten overs.

But the pick of the bowlers were Kuldeep and Chahal, the spin twins, who triggered the collapse when Tharanga and Samarawickrama were looking well set. Kuldeep registered figures of 3 for 42, while Chahal finished with 3 for 46 off his ten overs, three of which were maidens.

With only one wicket left, Gunaratne tried to farm the strike, refusing singles and protecting Nuwan Pradeep, the No.11, but it was too late by then. Bhuvneshwar dismissed Gunaratne for 17 to end the innings as Sri Lanka lost its last eight wickets for just 79 runs.

Courtesy:ICC

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