The Sri Lankan hosts ended their losing streak on Friday when Avishka Fernando and Bhanuk Rajapaksa played bats to lead their team to a three-wicket consolation victory in the third and final ODI at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Debutant C. Goutham needs 227 runs to win out of 47 overs in a rain-capped match and shed first blood in a second innings when Minod Bhanuka (7) retired with Chetan Sakaria in sixth over.
But, India then they had to work hard on their next wicket when Fernando and Rajapaksa stitched an impressive 109-run rack for the second wicket. Sakaria sent the latter back to Pavilion 65, and then took over Dhananjaya de Silva (7) to reduce Sri Lankans to 151/3 halfway through.
While Fernando continued to hold one end, India received two more wickets at the other. Hardik Pandya caught Charit Asalanka straight ahead on 24 points, while Rahul Chahar got his first international wicket by sacking skipper Dasun Shanak for ducking with the first ball.
The hosts seemed to be worried as Fernando (76) was fired at the end of the serve by Chahar. However, the period of uncertainty did not last long as the hosts crossed the finish line with eight extra overs.
Earlier on the same day Dhavan won the toss and chose to hit first, but India was unable to get off to a strong start as the captain was fired in the third game by 13 points by Dushmanta Chamira.
Opening partner Prithvi Shaw and debutant Sanju Samson stabilized the guests’ ship by making 74 runs for the second wicket. However, Shaw (49) and Samson (46) departed 17 goals apart, and the hosts cut India to 118/3 in 18.4 overs.
Manish Pandey (11) and Hardik Pandya (19) failed to strike, left spinner Praveen Jayavikrama sent both batsmen cheaply. Middle batsman Suryakumar Yadav quickly scored 37 goals 40, but failed to bring India to a strong result as they continued to regularly lose wickets at the other end.
In the end, thanks to Akila Dananjaya and Jayavikrama each having three wickets, the hosts limited the Men in Blue to 225/10 for 43.1 overs. Other debutants Gautam (2) and Nitish Rana (7) were also unable to handle the bat.
The focus is now shifting to the T20I three-match series starting on Sunday 25 July. As with the ODI series, all T20Is will also be raffled off at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.