3rd ODI: India beat SL by five wickets

July 29, 2012 | Cricket

An 11th ODI century for Gautam Gambhir and a breezy 65 from Suresh Raina helped India take the series lead at the Premadasa Stadium on Saturday as they beat Sri Lanka by five wickets, with two balls to spare.

The hosts had batted well to reach 286 for 5, with Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews scoring fifties, but in the end Gambhir and Raina’s knocks proved more valuable as India became the first side to successfully chase a 250-plus target against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.

Chasing 287, India suffered an early jolt in the second over when Virender Sehwag drove an harmless delivery from Thisara Perera to short cover for 3, but Gambhir was too good for Sri Lanka.

First with Virat Kohli – Gambhir was the dominant partner in a 104-run stand, scoring a brisk 55 to Kohli’s measured 38 – and then MS Dhoni (31), Gambhir eased India’s nerves without taking many risks and played some brilliant shots.

However, when Lasith Malinga removed Dhoni and Rohit Sharma in the first two balls of the batting Powerplay, and then went Gambhir was run out for 102, India appeared to be on that mat.

But Raina (65 off 45 balls) and Irfan Pathan (34 off 31) put on a match-winning 92-run stand that sealed victory in the final over.

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