Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan take India to series win

Wednesday 17th December 2014 06:51 EST

Indian team consigned Sri Lanka to their third defeat in the five-match series with Shikhar Dhawan's 91complementing the fine show of the bowlers and ensuring a six-wicket win on a day of milestones.
A full house at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad had plenty to cheer as Virat Kohli, who during his 53 became the fastest in the world to reach 6000-run club in ODIs, and team-mates asserted their superiority over the Lankans in all facets of the game despite the visiting side recovering well in the middle overs through Mahela Jayawardene's 17th ton in One-day Internationals.
The former Lankan skipper was a picture of calm during his 118, but apart from his knock and the 105-run stand for the third wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Lankans had little to show by way of spirit or enterprise. The poor record of teams chasing down a target here might have been at the back of Angelo Mathews' mind when he decided to bat first, but they were soon fishing in troubled waters.
Umesh Yadav made the initial inroads, Ambati Rayudu got rid of Dilshan courtesy Ajinkya Rahane's brilliance at extra cover and left-arm spinner Axar Patel's second spell (3-1-11-3) wrecked the Lankan hopes in the second Powerplay, during which they scored 16 runs and lost three wickets.
Jayawardene was unfazed by the chaos around him, but the fact that the Lankans couldn't make the most of the six overs bowled by Suresh Raina and Rayudu was indicative of their struggle on a day the Indians claimed all the wickets from the Northern end and 11 wides notwithstanding, can look back with satisfaction at their bowling effort.
The 12,000-run mark in ODIs was another milestone that the 426-match veteran Jayawardene crossed - the third Lankan and fifth overall to achieve the feat - during his 67-run stand for the eighth wicket with Seekkuge Prasanna before Ashwin ended the resistance with Wriddhiman Saha alert to the opportunity behind the sticks.
Rahane and Rayudu failed to make good the starts, the latter finding himself a handshake away from Dhawan at the non-striker's end attempting a single. Kohli, too, fell on the threshold of victory but by then India were sure they'd travel to Kolkata with the series in the bag and the skipper happy in the knowledge that he has maintained the trend of being the quickest to 6,000 like he was to 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000. He reached the 6000-run mark in just his 136th innings (144 matches). Sir Viv Richards did it in 156 matches and 141 innings.
IRayudu century puts India 2-0 up: Ambati Rayudu hit a chanceless maiden ODI ton, as India ran down Sri Lanka's 275 for 8 with six wickets in hand and 33 balls to spare. Rayudu and Shikhar Dhawan put on 122 runs for the second wicket to set up the chase, and having come to bat in the seventh over, Rayudu was at the crease to hit the winning runs and finish on 121 off 118 balls.
Sri Lanka's bowlers were short on menace, but it had been the batsmen who erred first in the game. Early wickets in their innings made for a measured recovery, and though Angelo Mathews' unbeaten 92 pushed the score towards credibility, he lacked support from the middle order, as the team finished at least 30 runs light on a flat Motera surface in Ahmedabad, and with dew set to form later in the evening.
Rayudu arrived just as the Sri Lanka seamers appeared to be hitting a rhythm, but like they had done in the previous ODI, the India batsmen sought to lay low until the seam grew soft and the changes were rung in. Dhawan was handed had a life in the eighth over, when he was on 10. Lahiru Gamage seamed a length ball away and collected his outside edge, but the sound and the clear deviation escaped the umpire's notice, to Sri Lanka's disbelief.
Once the new-ball bowlers had finished their opening spells, the batsmen eased out of their vigil and gradually tightened their grip on the chase. The first acceleration came just as the asking rate clicked over six per over. Rayudu strode down the track to launch Suraj Randiv over long on in the 17th over, establishing what would become one of the major themes of his hundred: the effective use of his feet against the spinners.
By the 20th over, the pair had raised the run rate to above four an over, and the boundaries began to flow more easily.

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