Dhoni’s heroics turn India-Sri Lanka ODI into a thriller

Adelaide: Making a mess of what could have been an easy win for the Men-In-Blue, India managed a tie in their match against Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth Bank Series here on Tuesday. Chasing a modest target of 236, Mahendra Singh once again proved to be a saver as the Indian skipper held the Indian fort from one end, seeing his colleagues go back to the pavilion one by one, and scored a last-ball three runs to draw the match against the Lankan Tigers.

India lost Sachin Tendulakar (15) early when he edged Kulasekara and Sangakkara made no mistake is depriving the Master Blaster yet another chance to score his hundredth hundred. Virat Kohli too didn’t last long as he was trapped in front of wickets by Perera for 15 and by the end of 22nd over, Rohit Sharma too made his way back to the pavilion on similar score.

Suresh Raina was taken brilliantly by Sangakkara off Malinga for eight and once again the onus of consolidating the innings was left on Gautam Gambhir and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The duo started the rebuilding process and when it seemed the duo would see India through, Gambhir got unlucky once again as he ran himself out for 91. Ravindra Jadeja seemed to be in a hurry ad gave a catch to Jayawardene off Perera for 8. With the score reading 184 for 6 in 43.3, the once easy target looked difficult to attain. And with the departure of Ashwin, it was left to Dhoni to do the job.  Though the captain kept his cool throughout, what he could manage today was a draw for his team, which nevertheless is better than a loss.

Earlier, the Indian bowlers did their job to perfection as they managed in restricting the Lankans at 236 runs in the allotted 50 overs. R Ashwin (2 for 30) and Vinay Kumar (3 for 46) were the pick of the bowlers, while Irfan Pathan, who was returning to international cricket after a long lay-off, too bowled with aggression and enthusiasm, taking one wicket for 38 runs in nine overs that he bowled.

Vinay Kumar gave Sri Lanka an early blow when he got Tharanga caught behind by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Irfan Pathan justified his inclusion in playing eleven by sending Dilshan back to the pavilion with Lankan scoreboard just 28 in the eighth over.

However after losing Sangakkara in the 20th over, Dinesh Chandimal (81) and Mahela Jayawardene (43) added 94-run stand for the fourth wickets to revive the Sri Lanka innings. But the duo fall in quick succession during the batting powerplay to give India edge in the final stages of their innings. Some lofty shots by Sachithra Senanayake (22 not out) in the end helped Sri Lanka set a decent 237-run target for India after they were reduced to 210/7 in 46.3 overs from 173/3 in 36.1 overs.