Shikhar Dhawan century powers India to ODI series victory vs Sri Lanka

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Shikhar Dhawan struck his 12th one day international hundred to help India beat Sri Lanka in the third and final match by eight wickets at Visakhapatnam and win the series 2-1 on Sunday.

Dhawan smashed 100 not out off 85 balls to take India home with eight wickets in hand in do-or-die clash. After losing the series opener in Dharamsala, India bounced back in style riding on skipper Rohit Sharma’s third double hundred in ODI to level the series.

Put in to bat, Sri Lanka were off to a solid start riding on Upul Tharanga’s 95 but thanks to India’s new spin-twin Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the visitors were bundled out for 215 in 44.5 overs.

Sri Lanka was cruising comfortably at 168/4 at one stage but the slide began thereafter as the Indian leg spinners shared six wickets between them.

The hosts, who won the three-Test series between the sides 1-0, breezed to their target with almost 18 overs to spare to secure their eighth series victory in a row in the 50-over format.

Stand-in captain Rohit Sharma, filling in for the rested Virat Kohli, fell for seven to off-spinner Akila Dananjaya but Dhawan remained unbeaten on 100 to guide India home.

Dhawan, who also completed 4000 runs in the 50-over format, added 135 for the second wicket with Shreyas Iyer and an unbroken 70 with Dinesh Karthik, who finished on 26 not out.

The left-handed opener reached his 12th ODI hundred in 84 balls, hitting 13 fours and two sixes.

Playing his third ODI, Iyer compiled his second successive half-century before he was out for 65, his knock including eight fours and a six.

After Rohit won the toss and opted to field fearing the evening dew would make it difficult for his spinners to grip the ball, Sri Lanka lost opener Danushka Gunathilaka for 13.

But former captain Upul Tharanga launched a brutal counter-attack on the Indian quicks, smashing all-rounder Hardik Pandya for five successive boundaries in his second over.

Tharanga hit 12 fours and three sixes in his 83-ball 95 and gave Sri Lanka a strong platform and shared a second-wicket stand of 121 with Sadeera Samarawickrama.

Leg-spinner Chahal broke the stand when Samarawickrama was out caught at deep cover for 42.

Left-armer Kuldeep, who took 3-42, then struck twice in one over to dismiss Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella, who was out after hitting the spinner for two fours.

Chahal, who finished with 3-46, compounded Sri Lanka’s problems by spinning one past Angelo Mathews’s bat with the right-handed batsman stunned by the amount of turn generated by the leg-spinner to bowl him.

From being 136-1 in 22 overs and looking set to post a tough target for India, Sri Lanka completely lost their way with the bat.

The teams will next play a three-match Twenty20 series starting in Cuttack on Wednesday.

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