Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa scored respective half centuries as Sri Lanka avoided a clean sweep by defeating India comprehensively in the third ODI at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday.
The visitors handed debutants K Gowtham, Nitish Rana, Chetan Sakariya, Rahul Chahar and Sanju Samson their first game, while the home side included Praveen Jayawickrama, Ramesh Mendis and Akila Dananjaya.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw got their team of to a solid start. The duo added 28 runs before the former perished to Dushmantha Chameera.
Debutant Sanju Samson along with Shaw stitched together a sold 74 run stand for the second wicket before the the latter fell one run short of a well deserved fifty.
Sanju Samson looked promising in his innings of 46 before he chipped a Praveen Jayawickrama delivery to Fernando at extra cover.
Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav tried to build a solid partnership before rain intervened in Colombo. The match was reduced to 47 overs a side. Akila Danajaya and Jayawickrama then wrecked the Indian middle and lower order, as the visitors slumped from 157/3 to 195/8.
Navdeep Saini along with Rahul Chahar added 29 valuable runs before the ninth wicket before Chahar fell to Karunaratne. The visitors were eventually bowled out for 225 in 43.1 overs.
Akila Dananjaya and Praveen Jayawickrama claimed 3 wickets each while Chameera bagged 2 wickets.
Chasing a revised target of 227, Avishka Fernando and Minod Bhanuka added 35 runs for the opening wicket before Krishnappa Gowtham provided the breakthrough by dismissing Minod caught at square leg by Chetan Sakariya.
The pair of Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa put on 109 runs for the second wicket before the latter fell to fine catch by Gowtham at backward square-leg to give Chetan Sakariya his maiden wicket. Sakariya then followed it up with a brilliant slower ball that foxed Dhananjaya de Silva.
Charith Asalanka looked good in his innings of 28 before being trapped leg before wicket by Hardik Pandya.
Rahul Chahar’s 3-wicket haul kept India’s hopes alive, but Akila Dananjaya and Ramesh Mendis held their nerves and guided Sri Lanka to a three wicket win. The visitors reached the target of 227 in 39 overs.
India 225 (Prithvi Shaw 49, Sanju Samson 46; Akila Dananjaya 3/44, Praveen Jayawickrama 3/59) lost to Sri Lanka 227/7 (Avishka Fernando 76, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 65; Rahul Chahar 3/54, Chetan Sakariya 2/34) by 3 wickets.
Avishka Fernando was declared the Player of the Match and Suryakumar Yadav was named the Man of the Series for his consistent performance in the three one dayers.