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India clinch series 2-1 with thumping 7-wkt victory

India sign off their last series before the all-important WC on a winning note as they beat Lanka convincingly. Scorecard
By hindustantimes.com | None, Visakhapatnam
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2007 09:10 PM IST

Indian sign off their last series before the all-important WC on a winning note as they beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the final ODI to clinch series 2-1.

Earlier, Uthappa and Sehwag began a steady Indian chase with a fifty-run stand after Ganguly retired hurt due to dizziness after the very first over.

The Bangalore boy smashed a hurricane 37-ball fifty to set up the Indian chase before giving in to the Lankan pacer.

Just when the flamboyant opener Virender sehwag looked in control, Sangakkara cut short his odyssey with a prompt runout for 46.

Its was smooth sailing for India as the left-handed duo of Ganguly and Yuvraj put up a fifty-run stand after the loss of two quick wickets.

Centurion Silva scripted Lankan recovery to steer his side to a respectable 259-run total after Indian seamers' early exploits in the fourth and the final ODI at Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

Earlier, Indian skipper Rahul Dravid's decision to field proved to be a blessing in disguise as the seamers rose to the occasion to leave the Lankan batting in the lurch despite a steady opening stand.

The match was reduced to 47 overs per side after the start was delayed by half an hour due to early morning dew.

Atapattu and Jayasuriya gave Lanka a solid start with a 42-run opening stand before Agarkar struck to snap the dangerous Jayasuriya for 22 and gave the hosts a headstart in the series-decider.

The paceman struck again in the subsequent over to ensnare Lankan skipper Jayawardene for paltry 7 runs.

Following that, Zaheer too got into the act to dismiss the flamboyant Lankan keeper, Sangakkara, for just a single and trigger a batting collapse.

Thereafter, Sreesanth was introduced into the attack and he too did not have to wait for long as he uprooted Atapattu's stump for 19 sending shivers down the Lankan spine.

This brought Dilshan and Silva together, who stemmed the rot and staged a recovery with a 68-run stand before Ganguly struck to dismiss the former and send all hopes of any revival crashing down.

Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar, Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel and Anil Kumble were left out and Sreesanth and Robin Uthappa have been included in the playing eleven for India.

Tendulkar, who had shown glimpses of his vintage form in this series, has been rested because of a stiff back to ensure that he is fully fit before the World Cup.

On the other hand, Chamara Silva and Lasith Malinga have replaced Upul Tharanga and Kulasekara in the Lankan side.

With the one-day series tantalisingly poised at 1-1, a victory in the crucial game will no doubt serve as a morale booster for the Indians before they embark on the journey to the West Indies for the World Cup.

After the shock five-run defeat in the second game in Rajkot, the hosts were far more convincing to record a comfortable five-wicket win in the third match in Margao and level the four-match series.

Teams

India: SC Ganguly, V Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, R Dravid, AR Uthappa, MS Dhoni, KD Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, AB Agarkar, Z Khan, S Sreesanth   
 
Sri Lanka: LPC Silva, ST Jayasuriya, DPMD Jayawardene, KC Sangakkara, MS Atapattu, TM Dilshan, RP Arnold, MF Maharoof, SL Malinga, CM Bandara, CRD Fernando

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