5 Thrilling ODI encounters between India and Sri Lanka

5 Thrilling ODI encounters between India and Sri Lanka

The ODI series is expected to be a close contest, unlike the Tests.

Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya
Sri Lankan cricketers Tillakaratne Dilshan (L) and Sanath Jayasuriya. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Cricket is at its most exciting when there is an even contest between the two teams. Even partisan fans won’t relish a one-sided contest between two mismatched teams as that detracts from the event as a whole. The Test series was completely one-sided but Sri Lanka have always been the much better outfit in the limited-overs format.

The Test series was completely one sided but Sri Lanka have always been the much better outfit in the limited overs format. India will play the Lankans in a 5-match ODI series starting Sunday (August 20). Both teams have played against each other so many times and they have produced some thrilling encounters. Since 1980s till date, there have been so many games between these two teams which have gone down the wire.

Close games keep the spectators engaged as well and this is why we are bringing you the close encounters between India and Sri Lanka.

 1. India vs Sri Lanka, ODI Final, R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, 7th July 1998

India batted first after winning the toss and their much-vaunted opening pair Ganguly and Sachin gave the solid start as they often used to do. The little master was at his very best in this period and even he didn’t disappoint the fans. Both scored centuries and put on a defining 252-run opening stand which was a world record at that time. India blazed their way to 307/6 in their 50 overs and were almost certain to win the game easily as the 300+ totals were never successfully chased in the island nation.

In reply, Sri Lanka got off to a brisk start thanks to Sanath Jayasuriya. Aravinda de Silva played another typically belligerent innings of 105 in just 94 balls as Sri Lanka edged closer to victory. Just when it looked like Sri Lanka too will create a record by chasing the mammoth total, they collapsed. They were well and truly in command of the game needing 28 runs at run a ball with 5 wickets in hand. However, they panicked at crunch moments and three wickets were gone in the form of run-outs and India won the match by mere 6 runs. Tendulkar was adjudged Man of the Match for his scintillating century.

2. India vs Sri Lanka, ODI, Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground, Rajkot, 15th December 2009

On an absolute belter of a track, Tendulkar and Sehwag went on the rampage after India elected to bat. They put on 153 for the first wicket as Sehwag scored an imperious 146 off just 102 balls studded with 17 fours and six sixes. India reached an imposing 414/7 off their 50 overs and Sri Lanka were staring down the barrel.

Dilshan and Upul Tharanga repeated the feat of the Indian openers and put on 188 for the first wicket. Kumar Sangakkara continued the good work and scored 90 off just 43 balls and at one stage the Lankans looked like they would win in a canter. Sri Lanka needed 99 off 81 balls with eight wickets in hand. However, they committed hara-kiri once again and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. They lost three wickets to run-outs in the last 11 balls as India won the high scoring bout by three runs. Sehwag was adjudged the Man of the Match.

3. India vs Sri Lanka, ODI series Final, Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad, 11th July 2013

After the Champions Trophy triumph, India set a date with the Islanders in the final of a tri-series where the hosts West Indies crashed out in the league stages. After missing out the initial stages due to injury, MS Dhoni was back for the final leading the side. Electing to field first, the Indian bowlers applied brakes on the Sri Lankan batting. Only Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne made substantial contributions as Sri Lanka scored a below par 201 all out.

In reply, Rohit Sharma led the way with a brilliant 58 as India made a cautious start. However, a collapse saw them reeling at 167/8 with Dhoni and Vinay Kumar at the crease and India looked down and out in the mega finale. The captain cool was content to just work the ball around and Vinay gave him adequate support. The ninth wicket fell at 182 and Sri Lanka thought they had the game. But Dhoni believed in his and ability and sealed the match in style hitting Shaminda Eranga for six, four and six off the first three deliveries of the last over to seal India’s triumph. This prompted Ian Bishop to exclaim ‘Magnificent Mahendra’ on commentary.

4. India vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, 17th August 1997

India won the toss and invited the hosts to bat first and they were obliged to do so and plundered runs on a flat track. Jayasuriya and Atapattu gave them a rollicking start in which the left hander scored 73 off just 52 runs. Atapattu continued to bat and was dismissed in the last over for a brilliant 118 and Sri Lanka finished at a strong 302/4 after 50 overs.

In reply, Indian top order collapsed under the pressure of runs and were soon reduced to 64/4. Then Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja and consolidated for some time. Once they got they started playing their strokes and secured a 223 run stand for fifth. India had it in their grasp but Jadeja was dismissed for a well made 119 and again India lost couple of wickets quickly and agonisingly fell short of the target by 2 runs. Azharuddin was left stranded at the other end unbeaten on 111.

Jadeja was adjudged man of the match despite losing for his brilliant knock.

5. India vs Sri Lanka, 5th Match, Commonwealth Bank Series at Adelaide, 14th Feb 2012

India faced Sri Lanka, this time in Adelaide in a Tri-Series which was hosted by Australia. Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat. But kept losing wickets at regular wickets and never looked set for a big total. Chandimal played a valiant inning of 81 off 91 deliveries due to which his team could reach a fighting total of 236/9. India bowled well and Vinay Kumar and Ashwin were the pick of the bowlers with 3 and 2 wickets respectively.

In reply, India too like their opponents never looked settled and lost 4 wickets for just 118. Only Gambhir looked in some sort of touch and MS Dhoni joined him to resurrect the Indian innings. Both added 60 runs for fifth wicket but the opener got run out unfortunately at the non-strikers as the ball touched the bowler’s hand before cannoning on to the stumps. Dhoni, then gamely took the control of the innings as wickets kept tumbling at the other end.

Malinga took the ball in his hand in the last over and bowled superbly and brought the equation down to 4 runs off 1 ball and it looked improbable for India to win as Malinga was nailing his yorkers and slower ones perfectly. The drama unfolded off the last delivery as Dhoni played a brilliant shot over the top only to be superbly fielded at the boundary and the captain cool scampered 3.

This was one heck of the game which had all its twists and turns and finally, no team deserved to lose. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 58 and again fought till the end for his team and saved from the defeat.