India clinch Sri Lanka ODI series 4-1


India defeated Sri Lanka by 20 runs in the fifth and final one-day international in Pallekele on Saturday to clinch the series 4-1. Paceman Irfan Pathan took five wickets as India bowled Sri Lanka out for 274 after posting a challenging 294-7 in the day-night match. Lahiru Thirimanne (77) and Jeevan Mendis (72) hit half-centuries for Sri Lanka.
Opener Gautam Gambhir (88), middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary (65) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (58) were the main scorers for India, while paceman Lasith Malinga grabbed three wickets for Sri Lanka. Earlier, Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit half-centuries to help India post a challenging 294-7.
Left-handed opener Gambhir cracked an impressive 88 and skipper Dhoni made a brisk 38-ball 58 after the tourists won the toss and elected to bat in the day-night match in Pallekele. India, who have already gained an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the series, were under pressure at 87-3 but Gambhir and middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary (65) propped up the innings with a 110-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Sri Lanka then got three quick wickets to reduce India to 213-6 before wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni and Irfan Pathan (29 not out) added 77 for the seventh wicket to help their team set a stiff target. Fast bowlers Lasith Malinga (3-64) and Nuwan Pradeep (2-63) were the main wicket-takers for Sri Lanka. Malinga dismissed Tiwary and Suresh Raina off successive deliveries before taking his 200th wicket in one-day internationals when he had Dhoni caught behind. The Indian skipper smashed one six and eight fours. Gambhir, who also completed 5,000 one-day runs during his 99-ball knock, was caught by Malinga at point off spinner Sachithra Senanayake after hitting seven fours. Pradeep earlier bagged two of the first three wickets when he trapped Virat Kohli (23) leg-before and bowled out-of-form Rohit Sharma (four) in successive overs.