New Delhi, 23 Jul (Agency) A spirited comeback with the ball – powered by Praveen Jayawickrama and Akila Dananjaya (two of three changes in the Sri Lanka XI) – was followed by a century partnership between Avishka Fernando (76) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (65) as Sri Lanka won the final ODI against India by three wickets. This was Sri Lanka’s second win in 11 completed ODIs in 2021 as they gained crucial World Cup Super League points and ended an ODI losing streak at home against India that started in July 2012. India’s innings was a tale of two halves – a productive one before a rain interruption (which reduced the game to 47 overs) and a rather glum one after that. The visitors were in a strong position having managed 147 for 3 in 23 overs when rain forced the players off the field. When they returned after a break of more than an hour and a half, they lost their middle order in quick succession and could add only 78 runs, losing seven wickets and not batting their quota overs as three batsmen were dismissed in the 40s.
India made as many as six changes to their line-up, which included maiden ODI caps to five players – Sanju Samson, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham, Rahul Chahar and Chetan Sakariya. They had also lengthened their batting at the expense of a frontline bowling option and went in with a bowling attack that didn’t feature anyone from the previous game barring Hardik Pandya. The inexperienced bowling attack, however, didn’t pose much of a challenge to the Sri Lankan batsmen until Rahul Chahar’s burst late in the second innings. The hosts got over the line with 8 overs to spare for a consolation win with India having already clinched their ninth successive bilateral ODI series victory against Sri Lanka.
Brief scores: India 225 in 43.1 overs (Prithvi Shaw 49, Sanju Samson 46; Akila Dananjaya 3-44, Praveen Jayawickrama 3-59) lost to Sri Lanka 227/7 in 39 overs (Avishka Fernando 76, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 65; Rahul Chahar 3-54, Chetan Sakariya 2-34) by 3 wickets.