Kuldeep, Dhawan lead India to 8th successive ODI series win
Thanks to a whirlwind performance from Rohit Sharma (208*), Indian team were able to level the ODI series in Mohali. A packed Visakhapatnam crowd was all set for the decider with India winning the toss and electing to field first. India made a solitary change with Kuldeep Yadav coming in for Washington Sundar.
Danushka Gunathilaka and Upul Tharanga opened the batting for the visitors. Gunathilaka, once again, faltered with Bumrah getting his man for 13. But Tharanga and new man, Sadeera Samarawickrama played sensibly to build a partnership. The duo were patient and attacked the loose balls. The veteran opener completed his 36th ODI fifty with Sadeera giving him good company. Yuzvendra Chahal broke the 121-run partnership as Dhawan caught Sadeera (42) in the deep. Tharanga was going strong at one end and he looked settled to make his century, Kuldeep struck. He was stumped by Dhoni after making 95 runs off just 82 balls.
Sri Lanka were looking to set a huge target after being 160/3 in 27.1 overs, but it all fell apart later. The spinning duo of Chahal (3/46) and Kuldeep (3/42) were lethal with the likes of Dickwella (8), Mathews (17) and Perera (6) all returning back to the pavilion. Hardik Pandya picked up a couple of wickets as it all went downhill for Sri Lanka. Bhuvneshwar Kumar took the last wicket (Gunaratne – 17) with the Lankans able to make only 215 in 44.5 overs.
With a relatively easy target to chase, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan had enough of time to settle themselves. Sri Lanka started with Suranga Lakmal and Akila Dananjaya, with the latter removing Rohit for 7. It was just the start the visitors needed but then, Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer, who was fresh from his 88 in the last match, batted superbly. They did not let Sri Lankan bowlers dominate with hitting them for fours regularly. Both of them were scoring with a strike rate of more than 100, with Thisara Perera having no answer. He tried various options, but nothing worked.
Dhawan and Iyer completed their respective fifties and were looking comfortable to make a big score as well. But Iyer lost his concentration and threw his wicket away for 65. Experienced Dhawan continued to bat and made sure that he reached to the three figure mark, his 12th in ODIs. He remained unbeaten on 100 with Dinesh Karthik (26*) at the other end to complete an easy win for the hosts. India won the ODI series 2-1, their 8th ODI series win a row to complete a fantastic year. Kuldeep Yadav won the Man of the Match award while Shikhar Dhawan won the Man of the Series award for his 168 runs in three matches.