Colombo: Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar (3/54) and left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya (2/34), who were making their ODI debut, put in spirited performances but could not stop Sri Lanka from winning the third and final ODI against India here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Friday. The Shikhar Dhawan-led side, however, won the series 2-1.
India were bowled out for 225 in 43.1 overs but Sri Lanka, riding on Avishka Fernando’s 76 (98 balls) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 65 (56 balls), got past the total in 39 overs.
This is incidentally Sri Lanka’s first win over India at home since 2012 and only their second ODI win this year. The win also ended India’s streak of seven successive ODI wins at the R Premadasa Stadium that stretches back to 2012.
India had fielded five debutants and while the batsmen largely failed, the two bowlers did a brilliant job to keep India in the hunt till the end.
Sri Lanka were cruising along at 144/1 in the 23rd over but Sakariya took two quick wickets to peg the home team back. He removed Rajapaksa and Dhananjaya de Silva (2).
A 43-run partnership between opener Fernando and Charith Asalanka (24) kept Sri Lanka on track but then Chahar, whose cousin Deepak was rested after his player-of-the-match performance in second ODI, struck three blows to send jitters into Sri Lankan camp.
With seven needed and the last three Sri Lankan wickets left, India fancied their chances. But an unusual error let host off the hook. India kept more fielders than were allowed outside the 30-yard circle. Akila Dananjaya, Sri Lanka’s No. 9 spotted that and hammered Chahar through covers knowing full well that he wouldn’t be dismissed since it was a no-ball.
Sri Lanka needed two runs after that shot and they had a free-hit. Dananjaya chanced his arm again to collect a single and level scores. Ramesh Mendis then got the winning single.
Earlier, Indians had succumbed to spinners Dananjaya and Praveen Jayawickrama, who shared six wickets between them.
While left-arm spinner Jayawickrama took 3/59, offie Dananjaya took 3/44 as the two ran through the middle and lower order to negate a strong start given by opener Prithvi Shaw (49 off 49 balls) and No. 3 Sanju Samson (46 off 46 balls).
After losing captain Dhawan early for 13 off 11 balls, Shaw and Samson added 74 for the second wicket to lay strong platform.
However, other than Suryakumar Yadav, who got 40 off 37 balls, no one else could stay on and play a counter-attacking innings.
The team management comprising coach Rahul Dravid and captain Shikhar Dhawan had made six changes, bringing in five debutants.
Apart from Sakariya and Chahar, India also handed ODI caps to Nitish Rana, Samson and Krishnappa Gowtham.
Brief scores: India 225 all out in 43.1 overs (P Shaw 49, S Samson 46, S Yadav 40, A Dananjaya 3/44, P Jayawickrama 3/59) lost to Sri Lanka 227/7 in 39 overs (A Fernando 76, B Rajapaksa 65, R Chahar 3/54, C Sakariya 2/34)