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India wrap up series with five-wicket win

MS Dhoni slammed a swashbuckling half century as India once again tormented Sri Lanka to finish the ODI series 6-1. Full Scorecard

india Updated: Nov 13, 2005 20:16 IST

Mahendra Singh Dhoni slammed a swashbuckling half century as India once again tormented Sri Lanka to score a comfortable five-wicket victory in the final match here on Saturday and wrap up the seven-match one-day cricket series with a handsome 6-1 margin.

Irfan Pathan was declared the Man of the Match for his three-wicket haul and a hurricane 35 of 23 balls. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian wicketkeeper from Jharkhand, won the Man of the Series award for his cracking batting with 17 sixes in the series and fine work behind the wicket.

Chasing a target of 245 for victory, Dhoni unleashed an array of breathtaking shots to score a 73-ball 80 and steer the team home with 10.3 overs to spare in what turned out to be yet another lop-sided encounter.

The Indians again outplayed the hapless visitors in all departments of the game to bag the series with one of the biggest victory margins in recent times, staging a dramatic turnaround in their fortunes after a prolonged period of indifferent outings in one-dayers.

The hosts relied on fine bowling performances by the young Rudra Pratap Singh (3/33) and local hero Irfan Pathan (3/38) to restrict Sri lanka to 244 for nine and then rattled up the required runs without much sweat at the IPCL Sports Complex to end the series on a rousing note.

Skipper Rahul Dravid brought the victory with a delectable boundary off Chaminda Vaas, sending the capacity crowd at the stadium into a frenzy. It also marked Dravid's first series win as a captain.

Rising from a pathetic situation of 85/5 in 25 overs, Arnold and Atapattu added 133 runs to the sixth wicket before departing to Pathan's successive balls as Sri Lanka set a 245-run modest target for India.

Arnold was the top scorer from Sri Lankan sidewith 68 runs which he garnered in just 69 balls. His tenure included seven hits to thefence and a six. Atapattu hit 59 off 68 deliveries.

India began in cracking manner

Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar opened the innings for India on a flying note. In the first five overs they scored 35 runs at a rate of seven runs an over. But once again Sehwag failed to sustain a long innings.He made a quick-fire 35 off 23 balls before being caught behind by Sangakkara off Fernando. India were one down for 53.

The new man, Irfan Pathan, started from the word go smashing the Lankan bowlers for fours and sixes. India reached 100 in just 12.4 overs as Pathan and Sachin entered 47-run partnership in just 34 balls at this stage of the game.

But Zoysa ended Baroda boy's blitzkrieg in the 15th over. Pathan tried to go for a big hit, but the ball went high in the air towards wide long-on and Jayawardene took an excellent catch. Pathan made 35 off 23 balls that included two sixes and four boundaries as India lost their second wicket for 109.

The last ball of the same over was a slower one. Tendulkar failed to get it well on to the bat and returned it straight to the bowler. India was three down for 115 as Sachin was seen walking back to pavilion for 39.

Kaif and Dhoni carried the innings forward quite confidently. But in the 23rd over Kaif was beaten by Lokuhettige's good length delivery that came inside after pitching out side the off stumps. It hit him on the pad before crashing into the stumps. Kaif was 13, as India lost fourth wicket for 157 in 22.2 overs.

Playing another good innings after Jaipur's unbeaten 183, Indian wicketkeeper batsman Dhoni quickly reached his third ODI half-century that came in just 46 balls putting India in complete command. However, he was out for 80 caught by Samaraweeraoff Chandana.

India finally wrapped up the series with 10.3 overs to spare.

Another batting failure for Sri Lanka

Electing to bat, Sri Lanka began the innings on a disastrous note, losing both the openers quite cheaply in just 6 overs with 20 runs on board.

While Rahul Dravid returned to leadthe teamafter missing the previous match in Rajkot due to a hamstring injury, Gautam Gambhir, Sreesanth and JP Yadav were left out for today's match.

The Lankans droppedout ofform Sanath Jayasuriyaand was handicapped with the absence of Murali, who is stillrecovering froma hamstring injury.

Sri Lanka's most capped player, Jayasuriya managed a meagre 85 runs in the first six games due to a shoulder injury and poor form. On Friday, the left-hander had been axed from the Test side as well.

In his absence, Samaraweera and Upul Tharanga opened the innings for the islanders.

While Pathan's first over was a maiden, he struck in the fourth ball of the second over.

Tharanga, playing a good length swinging delivery away from his body, edged the ball to the first slip. An alert Dravid took a fine catch giving Lanka the early shock. Sri Lanka lost their first wicket for 11 runs as Tharanga walked back scoring just6 runs.

Now it was the turn of Ajit Agarkar. He packed Samaraweera in the last ball of the sixth over also for 6. The batsman was beaten by the extra bounce and sent the ball straight to square leg into the hands of Harbhajan Singh. Sri Lanka was now two down for 20 runs.

Half-way through the innings, Sri Lanka were jolted by the hero of the last match at Rajkot, the young Indian medium pacer RP Singh. He scalped three top wickets in just two overs in a span of just eight runs as Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Dilshan were seen walking back one after the another.

The 57-run partnership between Jayawardene and Sangakkara came to an end as RP struck in the first ball of the 23rd over as the former lobbed an easy catch to Murali Kartik at short midwicket. Jayawardene was out for 20 and Lanka were three down for 77 runs.

In his next over, RP Singh struck twice. The first to go was Sangakkara in the second ball of the 25th over, caught by Yuvraj for 32 runs.Dilshan was the next victim,caught behind by Dhoni.

Sri Lanka was now in deep trouble with five down for 85 runs in 25 overs. Atapattu and Arnold remained the only two recognised batsmen at the crease before the tail started.

However, Atapattu and Arnold gave Sri Lanka a good standing and enhanced the pace of scoring. In the 39th over, the skipper hit spinner Kartik for 15 runs in one over. At the end of the 40th over Sri Lanka were 164/5. Both of the them completed their half-centuries almost simultaneously lifting the Lankan spirits.

However, the 133-run partnership came to end as Pathan got both of them caught by Harbhajan in successive balls of the 47th over to a similar looking shots to deep backward point. Sri Lanka were seven down for 218.

Agarkar and Kartik packed two more batsmen as Sri Lankan innings came to an end at 244/9 in the stipulated 50 overs.

First Published: Nov 13, 2005 02:33 IST