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SL v IND, 3rd ODI Review: Rohit, Dhoni power India to series win

Rohit and Dhoni were involved in an unbeaten 5th wicket stand of 157 to take India home after the initial jitters.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni
India cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Before the start of the 3rd ODI, Rohit Sharma averaged just 16.14 after 23 games in Sri Lanka. He made up for his poor record in the Island by notching up a pristine century which led India to a series win. The opener received great support from Dhoni, with whom he batted for the first time since January 2014.

Rohit’s century was a master class as he lifted India from the shambles when they stuttered again to find themselves at an uncomfortable position at 61 for 4 chasing 219. He dropped anchor when wickets were falling around him and found an ally in Dhoni before the big shots came out. At one stage, the 30-year old was batting at 39 from 60 balls, after which he hit four sublime boundaries in the next five balls he faced which also allowed him to go past his half century. Post the flurry of boundaries he found his rhythm and virtually remained unchallenged for the rest of the night.

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Dhoni proves his worth, yet again

Dhoni, yet again, reiterated his significance to this side with a calm and composed unbowed half century. He soaked up the pressure and used his feet against spin to keep the tweakers at bay. Akila Dananjaya scalped two wickets in his first 7 balls and looked like he was going to repeat the heroics of the other night on Sunday again. He sent Rahul back on his way to a fairly average delivery as the 23-year old found the only man stationed on the deep midwicket fence. Jadhav, given a promotion again to bat at No. 5, fell to Dananjaya for the second time in as many games, this time trying to sweep a full leg spinning delivery from the recently married slow bowler. The umpire had no hesitation that the ball would have crashed onto the off stump and Jadhav registered his second duck in ODIs.

Post the storm it was all calm as the duo of Dhoni and Rohit added 157 to guide India to yet another bilateral ODI series win against Sri Lanka. There was a brief crowd disturbance which halted the game for about 25 minutes before the players came back from the dressing room to complete the formalities. Rohit, who got his 12th ODI ton, remained unbeaten on 124 while former skipper Dhoni remained not out on 67.

Malinga gave Sri Lanka the much needed breakthrough by getting the better of the in-form Shikhar Dhawan (5). The southpaw tried to cut a ball which was too close to him and accounted for his first single digit score of the tour. Skipper Kohli (3), who batted at his usual No. 3 position unlike the other night, was unlucky to hit one off his pads straight to the long leg fielder.

Bumrah torments the Lankans

Sri Lanka have lost many players during the course of the series and Dinesh Chandimal for the latest addition to that list. He suffered a blow to his thumb while fending a short ball during his absurd knock of 36 which made him use 71 deliveries. The hosts made a surprising call of batting first after calling right at the toss. The early fall of Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis made them fret before come back men Lahiru Thirimanne and Chandimal revived the innings to some extent by adding 72 runs for the third wicket. Bumrah was the wrecker-in-chief, who was made to bowl 5 overs with the new cherry, a pattern which is not familiar as he is usually saved for the middle and death overs.

The 23-year old picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs playing in his 19th game in the format. After his opening burst, he came back to torment the home side in the latter half of the innings, sending Thirimanne (80) back just when he started posing a danger for the visitors. He then shattered the stumps of Dananjaya and Siriwardana to return with 5 for 27 in his allotted 10 overs. The unorthodox bowling of Kedar Jadhav accounted for the big wicket of Angelo Mathews, who was trapped in front while trying to play a reverse sweep. Kohli uses him for just a few overs and this time the Maharashtra cricketer got just three, off which he did a job returning with 1/12. Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel did the holding job decently returning with 0/49 and 1/35 respectively. Hailed as the next big thing in India cricket, Pandya chipped in with 1/42 with the ball and did not get a chance to unleash his magic with the willow.

It is not happening for the home side, who are struggling to post a big score on the board. They haven’t managed to touch 250 even once having batted first in all three games, an area they need to work on. With just two games to go, the home side will play for pride and give a few young players an opportunity.

Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka – 216 all out (Lahiru Thirimanne 80, Dinesh Chandimal 36, Jasprit Bumrah 5/27)

India – 219 for 4 (Rohit Sharma 124*, MS Dhoni 67*, Akila Dananjaya 2/38).

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