Gambhir guides India to five wickets win
Gautam Gambhir continued his brilliant form against Sri Lanka and scored 102 to guide India for a comfortable five wickets win in the third One Day International played at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo, on Saturday.
India reached home with two balls to spare and set a new record at the R. Premadasa Stadium, by chasing 286 runs successfully. The previous highest successful chase at R. Premadasa Stadium was also done by Indians as they went on to score 271 against England in the 2002 Champion's Trophy.
As it happened in the World Cup finals, in Mumbai last year, Gambhir stood like a stone pillar and his colleagues built the innings around him. The left handed opener faced 101 balls and hit ten boundaries before being run out by a lightning throw from Isuru Udana.
M. S. Dhoni promoted himself up in the order and added 67 runs for the third wicket with Gambhir. Gambhir did his job perfectly and India was marching towards the victory, with Dhoni at the other end. Six more batsmen were waiting the pavilion.
However, the first two balls of the batting power play shook India as Lasith Malinga removed M. S. Dhoni and Rohith Sharma in two balls to bring Sri Lanka back into the game in the 36th over.
Sri Lanka didn't give up until the last over but Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan were associated in a solid six wicket partnership of 92 runs which saw India take the game away from Sri Lanka to take a 2-1 lead in the five match series.
Losing Sangakkara, due to a fractured finger, proved costly for Sri Lanka too. Couple of catches went humming past the wicket keepers left hand in the 45th over by Lasith Malinga.
The ball reached the boundary in both occasions as stand in wicket keeper, Dinesh Chandimal, couldn't get a touch to it.
Sri Lanka's fielding wasn't up to the mark and more runs could have been stopped.
The fourth ODI is scheduled for Tuesday.
- Daminda Wijesuriya