Sri Lanka’s losing skid came to an end on Friday when Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa shined with the bat in the third and final One-Day International against India at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. In a rain-shortened encounter, rookie K Gowtham drew first blood in the second innings when Minod Bhanuka holed out to Chetan Sakariya in the sixth over, needing 227 runs from 47 overs.
However, India was had to work hard for their next wicket when Fernando and Rajapaksa put on a 109-run second-wicket stand. Sakariya got the better of Dhananjaya de Silva and reduced the Lankans to 151/3 at the midway point. While Fernando remained at one end, India picked up two more wickets at the other. Hardik Pandya caught Charith Asalanka on 24 with his first international wicket, while Rahul Chahar dismissed skipper Dasun Shanaka for a first-ball duck.
Fernando (76) was bowled late in the innings by Chahar, putting the home side in trouble. The uncertainty didn’t last long, as the hosts crossed the finish line with eight overs to spare. Dhawan had won the toss and elected to bat first earlier in the day, but India struggled to get off to a good start as the captain was bowled for 13 by Dushmantha Chameera in the third over.
The visitors’ ship was steadied by fellow opener Prithvi Shaw and debutant Sanju Samson, who put up 74 runs for the second wicket. Shaw (49) and Samson (46) both fell in the space of 17 balls, reducing India to 118/3 in 18.4 overs.
After Manish Pandey (11) and Hardik Pandya (19) failed to make an impact, left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama dismissed both batsmen for nought. Suryakumar Yadav, a middle-order batsman, struck a quickfire 37 off 37 balls, but India couldn’t put up a big total since they continued losing wickets at the other end.
The hosts eventually reduced the men in blue to 225/10 in 43.1 overs, with to a three-wicket haul each from Akila Dananjaya and Jayawickrama. Gowtham (2) and Nitish Rana (7), both debutants, were unable to get going with the bat. The attention is now on the three-match T20I series, which begins on Sunday, July 25. All T20Is will be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, just like the ODI series.