In a performance befitting the world champions, India dominated with both the bat and the ball to come up with a winning effort to beat Sri Lanka in yet another ODI. This win means, India won the series 4-1 (they had already won the series when they won the last match). This match was a mere formality.
But this match was important for India to win as it would push them to the no. 2 position in the ODI rankings. Australia as usual sits at the top of the table.
India elected to bat after winning the toss. Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane opened the batting for India, in the absence of Virender Sehwag. They made a cautious start. But Rahane fell soon after. Virat Kohli then joined Gambhir and both continued steadily. However, Kohli was also removed soon after that.
Gambhir and Manoj Tiwari developed a crucial partnership to put India in a respectable position. But the third powerplay saw three wickets – Gambhir, Tiwari and Suresh Raina. India looked down and out. However, an inspired captain’s knock from Dhoni took India past the 290 mark.
The start of the Lankan reply was no good either. Dilshan, who has had a poor series with the bat continued in the same fashion as he was out for a duck. Irfan Pathan was the star with the ball as he claimed a five wicket haul. It was due to some great bowling from Pathan and some alert fielding from someone like Virat Kohli that gave important breakthroughs for India from time to time.
In the absence of the senior players in the team, it was going to be very difficult for the home team to chase down a score in the 300 runs region. But at the same time, credit should also be given to the Indian bowlers for some intelligent bowling.