India in pursuit of 316 to win the series got off to a shocker losing Virendra Shewag for 10 caught by Dilshan off the bowling of Suranga Lakml for 10 with India on 14.
Then came wicket number two when Tendulkhar try to hit over top and was caught at cover for 8 to give Sri Lanka her 2nd wicket with India on 23.
With Gambir and Kohli at the wickets, Sri Lanka thanks to young Lakmal controlled the Indians but it all went haywire when Lasith malinga’s first over was carted around for 16 runs by Virat Kholi.
The onslaught with Gambir and kholi then got underway. The two youngsters played with great authority, nudging the good ball into gaps, putting away the lose deliveries, with sheer timing and precision. The right hand left hand combination fetched the Indians 224 runs for the third wicket with both players getting to their respective centuries with Kholi making his maiden.
The Sri Lanka bowling, with the disadvantage of the dew looked out of sought. They gave too many singles with the fielding positions much to be desired. Kholi was ultimately caught by substitute Pushpakumara at deep mid on, not before he made 107 runs with eleven boundaries and one six, with India within sight of victory on 247.
Dinesh Karthick then joined Gambir and guide India to a great win, with Gambir Unbeaten on 150, his 7th ton that included fourteen boundaries. He was adjudicated man of the match after India won with eleven balls to spare, however in a kind gesture he offered the award to his partner Virat Kholi who took the initiative in building a long partnership.
India proved to the world that they are the best batting side in the world. Pundits were proved wrong that Dhoni and Yuvraj out of the side will hamper their big run chase.
Lasith Malinga was very disappointing being carted for 75 runs in 9.1 overs. The dew factor together with injuries to most of their senior bowlers including Mathews the premier all rounder has been the negatives for Sri Lanka in getting the correct combination.
India deserve the series win they certainly looked the better team especially here in Kolkata and in their last outing at Cuttack
Sri Lanka 315 for 6 Wickets in 50 overs
India 316 for 3 Wickets in 48.1 overs
Gautham gambir 150 not out
Virat Kholi 107
Ras Lakmal 2 for 55
Suraj Randiv 1 for 57
Jayasuriya, Samaraweera, Thisira Perera and suranga Lakmal replaced Kapugedera, Kulasekera, Mendis and Welegedera for today’s 4th ODI at Eden Gardens. Welegedera was ruled out just half an hour prior to start of play due to a groin injury.Thisira Perera makes his debut, replacing the injured Welegedera.
For India Dhoni, still under suspension is sitting out, whilst Yuvraj is out with an injury.
Sri Lanka has batting up to number eight with the inclusion of Thisira Perera. Winning the toss and electing to bat first the Indian seam bowlers Zaheer Khan and Asish Nehera pegged an excellent line, to keep both Dilshan and Tharanga quite. They bowled just back of a length and to Dilshan; they bowled into his pads and cramped his free swinging hands. At the end of over number five Sri Lanka made only five runs, that tells the story of India’s pre match plan on how to contain the openers.
Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja were exceptional on the field. India got danger man Dilshan when the right hander helped a short delivery from Ashis Nehera on its way to mid wicket where Virat Kohli ran in and held onto a classic catch for with Sri Lanka on 31.
Jayasuriya was sent in as number three, with the power play overs still in progress. Tharanga got into a great stride by belting Ishant Sharma for five fours in one over to change the complexion of the game. Tharanga looked to play down the ground with the full face of the bat.
Jayasuriya looked promising, started with a nudge to fine leg for four in the very first ball he faced. Jayasuriya moved onto eight by cover driving Zaheer Khan for a sweetly timed four. He then was undone by a beautiful out swinger and was caught by his Mumbai team mate Tendulkhar at short gully for 15, with Sri Lanka losing her second wicket on 72, in the 13th over.
End of the first power play the visitors were 91 for 2 with Tharanga on 56, and Sangakkara on 6 after being dropped by Harbajan before he opened scoring.
Upul Tharanga and Sangakkara were excellent in their shot selection, played with a sense of maturity, rotated the singles and did a fine job, by putting on 126 runs for the 3rd wicket.Upul Tharanga got to his 7th one day hundred by playing the Indian seam and spin attack to precision. He got his 100 in 102 balls with 14 boundaries and a big six.
Sangakkara batting on 60 simply threw it away after stroking a classic off drive off Harbajan in the previous ball. He tried an appalling shot coming down the pitch and trying to scoop the ball over the keeper’s head only succeeding, in losing his balance and giving an easy opportunity for Karthick to stump him with Sri Lanka on 198.
Sri Lanka took the batting power play in the 40th over with Jayewardene at the wickets. Upul Tharanga after making a stroke filled 118 in 128 balls with fourteen boundaries and two massive sixes departed trying a big swing down the ground, off wicket hunting zaheer Khan and was ultimately bowled much to the delight of the Indians with Sri Lankan’s score on 234.
Debutant Thisira Perera jumped the queue and joined Jayewardene with the power play on. The young man was given a free license “Swing at anything and everything”. Perera was described as a wonder by Sunil Gavaskhar; he even asked where this man was all this time. Perera and Jayewardene had Christmas in the middle as Thisira Perera clobbered 31 off just 13 deliveries in which he executed four boundaries and one six to help Sri Lanka score 53 runs in the batting power play.
The young debutant going for yet another big hit was caught at deep mid on when he skied the ball high in the air to be caught by Ravindru Jadejah off the bowling of Ashis Nehera with the visitors on 271 for 5 wickets at the end of the 46.1 overs.Jayawardena who batted with confidence was run out for 33 with the visitors on 287.
Organizers at Eden Garden were up and running when in the 49th over, with Sri lanka on 307 for six wickets, a power failure halted play for around half an hour. Sri Lanka, have not only notched up the highest total of 315 by any team at Eden Gardens but have given the Indians a big target of 316 to win the series.