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India take 2-1 lead in ODI series

India rode out the rough to take a 2-1 lead against Sri Lanka in the 3rd ODI of their bilateral series at Colombo on Saturday night.

RCB’s Zaheer Khan gave India a great start after Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first. He removed the openers Tillakaratne Dilshan (4) and Upul Tharanga (8) early, while Irfan Pathan removed Dinesh Chandimal (0) leaving Sri Lanka tottering at 20/3. Zaheer finished his first spell with figures of 2/16 in 5 overs.

Kumar Sangakkara (73) and Mahela Jayawardene (65) consolidated well before Angelo Mathews (73*) and Jeevan Mendis (45*) added an unbeaten 104* for the 6th wicket in the last 12 overs to take Sri Lanka to an imposing 286/5. Ashok Dinda and Irfan Pathan went for runs in the final Sri Lankan charge. Zaheer Khan kept the runs under check but could not take any more wickets; he still ended with respectable figures of 2/39 after his 10 overs.

Virender Sehwag’s (3) early dismissal saw Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli come together to add 105 for the second wicket in 19.1 overs before Rangana Herath pulled off a great return catch to send back Kohli (38). MS Dhoni and Gambhir kept India in the hunt with a 67 run partnership for the third wicket.

Back to back wickets of Dhoni (31) and Rohit Sharma (0) in the 36th over from Lasith Malinga however saw India slide to 180/4. Gautam Gambhir followed up his 43 ball fifty with a 96 ball hundred, his sixth against Sri Lanka before the need for a risky single saw him being run out on 102, leaving India on 196/5, requiring 91 from just 11.3 overs.

Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan ran cheeky singles, risky doubles and found gaps to hit boundaries but they also offered the Sri Lankans a couple of chances which were thankfully put down. Raina was splendid when forced to hit over the field and brought up his 50 off just 35 balls. The pair added an unbeaten 92* for the sixth wicket, getting India across the line in 49.4 overs to post 288/5. Raina made 65* off 45b and Pathan made 34* off 31 as India sealed the match by 5 wickets.

Gautam Gambhir set up the platform but Suresh Raina finished the job and it earned him the Man of the Match award as the 5 wicket win took India 2-1 up with 2 ODIs to go.

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