Gambhir, Raina star in India's five-wicket win vs Sri Lanka
Opener Gautam Gambhir hit a calculated century and Suresh Raina played a decisive 65-run knock to power India to a thrilling five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the third ODI, in Colombo today. Amol Karhadkar reports. Digambar Patowary reports.3rd ODI: India beat Sri Lanka by 5 wicketsindia Updated: Jul 29, 2012 02:35 IST
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.
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.
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.