Tendulkar helps India win series

Triangular one-day international series final, Colombo:India 319-5 (50 overs) beat Sri Lanka 273 (46.4 overs) by 46 runs

Sachin Tendulkar hit 138 to set India on their way to beat Sri Lanka in the final of the triangular one-day international series in Colombo.

The veteran added 95 with Rahul Dravid (39), 110 with Mahendra Dhoni (56) and 71 with Yuvraj Singh (56 not out) after India won the toss and made 319-5.

Despite an early flurry by Tillakaratne Dilshan (42), Sri Lanka were pegged back as Harbhajan Singh took 5-56.

Although Thilina Kandamby smashed 66 late on, Sri Lanka fell 46 runs short.

It represents an impressive turnaround for India, who lost by 139 runs when the sides met in a group stage game at the same ground on Saturday.

After Dhoni won the toss, Dravid set the tone for the innings by crashing the second ball of the innings from Nuwan Kulasekara for four through point, although he then played the anchor role while Tendulkar dominated.

Dravid was dropped twice, by Dilshan and Kulasekara, before he fell to veteran Sanath Jayasuriya’s left-arm spin – but captain Dhoni promoted himself up the order to join Tendulkar in flaying the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Angelo Mathews, who took an astonishing 6-20 on Saturday, was surprisingly only given three overs, while Dhoni mistimed a pull to mid-wicket shortly after taking the batting powerplay.

Tendulkar – celebrating his 44th ODI century – eventually fell to the last ball of the 46th over, attempting to reverse-sweep Ajantha Mendis after hitting him for a six and two fours off the three previous balls.

Some clean hitting from Yuvraj, whose unbeaten 56 came off 41 balls, saw the visitors past 300 and favourites to take the trophy.

But openers Dilshan and Jayasuriya had other ideas, getting stuck into opening bowlers Ashish Nehra and Ishant Sharma so well that Dhoni turned to Harbhajan’s off-spin as early as the eighth over, well within the powerplay.

The wily Harbhajan obliged by bowling Dilshan and inducing a return catch to remove Mahela Jayawardene cheaply, and Jayasuriya was soon caught at mid-on to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 85-3 after 11 overs.

Thilan Thushara, promoted up the order, and Mathews made little impression, but Kumar Sangakkara and Kandamby staged a recovery until Sangakkara was dismissed in bizarre fashion.

The Sri Lanka captain had defended a full toss from RP Singh on the front foot, but his bat slipped from his hands, flew back over his shoulder and hit the stumps.

Kandamby blasted his second fifty in successive games, but when Chamara Kapugedera fell for 35 to Suresh Raina’s occasional off-spin, the writing was on the wall for the hosts – and Harbhajan returned to whip out the last three wickets and hand India the trophy.

Both sides now head to South Africa for the ICC Champions Trophy, which begins on 22 September.

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