Gambhir, Raina star in India's five-wicket win vs Sri Lanka

  • Amol Karhadkar, Hindustan Times, Colombo
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 29, 2012 02:35 IST
  • Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina

    Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene looks on as India's Irfan Pathan and Suresh Raina celebrate after winning the third One-Day International cricket match against Sri ...

  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni

    Sri Lankan bower Lasith Malinga, right celebrates the dismissal of India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left during the third one-day international cricket match between India ...

  • Gautam Gambhir

    Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir raises his bat after scoring a half-century (50 runs) during the third one day international (ODI) match between Sri Lanka and ...

  • Lasith Malinga

    Sri Lankan cricketer Lasith Malinga delivers a ball during the third one day international (ODI) match between Sri Lanka and India at the R. Premadasa ...

  • Gautam Gambhir

    Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir plays a shot as Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene looks on during the third one day international (ODI) match between Sri ...

  • Virender Sehwag

    Sri Lanka's bowler Thisara Perera celebrates the dismissal of India's batsman Virender Sehwag with wicket keeper Dinesh Chandimal and others during the third one-day international ...

  • Ashok Dinda

    Indian cricketer Ashok Dinda celebrates after dismissing Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara during the third one day international (ODI) match between Sri Lanka and India ...

  • Mahela Jayawardene

    Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene congratulates batsman Kumar Sangakkara as he reaches a half-century during the third one-day international cricket match between India and Sri ...

  • Mahela Jayawardene

    Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene looks back after hitting a ball to the boundary during the third one day international (ODI) match between Sri Lanka ...

  • Dinesh Chandimal

    Sri Lankan cricketer Dinesh Chandimal walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the third one day international (ODI) match between Sri Lanka and ...

Once is an accident, twice is intentional. And even though the dog who relieved himself at the R Premadasa Stadium twice in the first innings wouldn't have learnt from the first mishap, the Indian cricketers did seem to have from their batting debacle in Hambantota as they regained the lead in the five-match series by chasing down a stiff target in the third ODI.


A target of 287 may not have seemed a gargantuan task to achieve. But considering the conditions and history - the highest successful chase at the venue was India's 271 for two against England in the 2002 Champions Trophy — the Indians had to bat out of their skin.

No wonder then, despite Gautam Gambhir's chanceless century- his 11th in ODIs - it took an unbroken 92-run stand for the sixth wicket between Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan to help India register a record win.

When Gambhir was run out after an impressive hundred, India required 91 runs off 69 balls. With a long tail to follow Pathan after Malinga got rid of MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma, the match seemed to be heading out of India's reach.

Zaheer Khan celebrates with Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan during the third One-Day International cricket match in Colombo. Reuters

But just as Angelo Mathews and Jeevan Mendis steered Lanka to a challenging 286/5, Raina and Pathan saw India home with two balls to spare. When the asking rate started to soar, the duo managed to get boundaries each in the 44th, 45th and 46th overs to get India back in the match.

Once Raina smashed Malinga over the fence, it was clear India were not going to fall short. And they didn't as Pathan completed the formalities by hoicking Mathews over mid-wicket with two balls to spare.

Earlier, Gambhir and Dhoni, who promoted himself to bat at No 4, kept India in the hunt despite losing Virender Sehwag and run machine Virat Kohli in the first half of the chase.

Sangakkara out
Kumar Sangakkara has been ruled out for four to six weeks with a fractured finger of his  right hand. He sustained the injury while attempting a pull off Ashok Dinda.

 

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