India beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third ODI at Margao on Wednesday. Swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni and skipper Rahul Dravid kept their cool after the top order collapse to lead India to level the ODI series 1-1.
Virender Sehwag continued to disappoint as he fell to Dilhara Fernando for 12. The next to go was Sachin Tendulkar. Spinner Kulasekara trapped the ace batsman for mere one run.
Yuvraj departed at 21 off Fernando's delivery. He gave an easy catch to Kulasekara at the short extra cover.
Rahul Dravid kept the Indian hopes alive as he continued to keep the scoreboard moving. Facing Jayasuriya in the 29th over of the match, Dravid became the sixth player in cricket history to complete 10,000 ODI runs.
After a decent effort by former skipper Sourav Ganguly, he was trapped leg before the wicket by Bandara for 48 runs.
After a 133-run partnership with Dhoni, skipper Dravid was run out at 66 runs. But, it did not affect the hosts much as they were merely four runs away from victory. Karthik was the replacement who ushered the winning run for the home team.
Earlier, after losing three wickets to Zaheer with just 7 runs on board, Sri Lanka make a fine comeback and set a 231-run target for India at the Nehru Stadium in Margao on Wednesday. Arnold was the top scorer for Lanka, who remained unbeaten at 66 runs as tourists were 230/8 in the stipulated 50 overs. Zaheer Khan took five wickets in a scintillating spell as Maharoof and Bandara are his latest victims.
After an 89-run partnership with Russel Arnold, Dilshan was caught-behind for 42 off Harbhajan Singh. Soon after, Zaheer took two wickets, packing Maharoof for 14 and Bandara for just 2 runs.
With a 1-0 lead in the series, the Sri Lankan side had an uplifted morale for the game, as India went into this crucial tie in a do-or-die situation.
Earlier, comeback man Zaheer Khan gave India a dream start after Sri Lanka elected to bat and Munaf Patel and Harbhajan added to the islanders' misery in the middle of the game.
The ball was hardly two overs old when Zaheer dispatched both the openers in the same over. The first to go was Sanath Jayasuriya who was caught brilliantly by Sourav Ganguly at the square leg, a diving blinder, for just 2 runs. In the fourth ball of the same over, Tharanga was trapped leg-before for just 1 run. The islanders were looking miserable having lost two wickets for meagre 5 runs on the board.
As if this misery was not enough, Zaheer packed the Man of the Match and centurian of the Rajkot ODI for a duck in the fourth over of the innings. This time the ball kept low and crashed into stumps after taking the bottom edge.
Jayawardene and Atapattu were batting sensibly to stem the rot, when Munaf struck in the 21st over. Sachin Tendulkar took a beautiful diving catch at midwicket to pack Atapattu for 42. Soon after Jayawardene was trapped leg-before by Harbhajan for 30 runs as Lanka were 91/5 in 23.5 overs.
India have made a few changes in the playing eleven. Ajit Agarkar and Yuvraj Singh have been brought in place of Sreesanth and Robin Uthappa. Irfan Pathan has been ruled out while Anil Kumble has pulled out due to personal reasons. In the Lankan side, Lasith Malinga has been rested and Dilhara Fernando has been brought in his place.
With a 1-0 lead in the series, the Sri Lankan side had an uplifted morale for the game, as India went into this crucial tie in a do-or-die situation. The first match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata was called off due to torrential rains while Sri Lanka went down to pull a win from the jaws of the hosts in the second one-dayer at Rajkot.
India: Yuvraj Singh, SC Ganguly, R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, V Sehwag, MS Dhoni, KD Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, AB Agarkar, Z Khan, MM Patel.
Sri Lanka: WU Tharanga, ST Jayasuriya, DPMD Jayawardene, KC Sangakkara, MS Atapattu, TM Dilshan, RP Arnold, MF Maharoof, KMDN Kulasekara, CM Bandara, CRD Fernando.