India recorded their first bilateral series win against Sri Lanka on Sri Lankan soil when they wrapped up the five-match series with a game to go at the R. Premadasa Stadium here on Wednesday. The Indians set the Sri Lankans a target of 259 in 50 overs and won by 46 runs as the hosts were bowled out for 212 with 21 balls to spare.
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene lost his fourth straight toss in the series and the sixth consecutive in the tour and was forced to take the field. Mahela Jayawardene, who had become the first Sri Lankan captain to lose a home series to England last year, added a first ever series defeat to India at home too to his resume after the tourists took a 3-1 lead.
It was a great win by the young Indian side, especially in the context that they had lost two of their key player, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, due to injury and after losing the first ODI by eight wickets, they fought back remarkably to inflict an embarrassing defeat on their neighbours.
The Indian total was possible thanks to half-centuries by Suresh Raina (76) and M.S. Dhoni (71), who fought hard to give the tourists a total above 250. They added 143 runs for the fourth wicket in 141 balls and narrowly missed the record for that wicket in matches between Sri Lanka and India that's held by Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, who had added an unbroken 145 run stand last year in Vishakapatnam.
The Sri Lankans did well to fight back claiming the last seven wicket for 34 runs, but Dhoni and Raina had done enough to help their side for a series win. Left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas became the fourth bowler in the history of the game to claim 400 ODI wickets after Wasim Akram, Muttiah Muralitharan and Waqar Younis. But that was scant consolation for the World Cup finalists, whose one-day form has clearly become a concern.