Brief scores: Sri Lanka 238 in 49.4 overs (Lahiru Thirimanne 67, Angelo Mathews 55; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5-42, Jasprit Bumrah 2-45) vs India.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar celebrated his return to the playing XI with a maiden five-wicket haul in 50-overs cricket as Sri Lanka once again crumbled on a decent batting surface. The hosts were bowled out for 238 in the final ODI in Colombo on Sunday (September 3) that left them on the brink of an embarrassing 5-0 whitewash for the first time in this format in their own backyard.
Sri Lanka’s decision to bat first once again surprised a few especially with the cloud cover and the possibility of rain later in the evening. While India continued to experiment by making four changes to their playing XI, Sri Lanka welcomed their regular skipper Upul Tharanga back in place of Kusal Mendis, who was given a break. And Tharanga enjoyed his return by finding the sweetest spot of the bat in the very first over bowled by Bhuvneshwar.
Angelo Mathews and Thirimanne had to dig deep to bail their side out of trouble. Mathews battled past Bumrah’s testing spell at the start and even though Yuvvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were kept interested with the track offering turn, the two experienced batsmen batted their way out of trouble taking some time in the process.
Thirimanne finally hit the first six of the innings when he stepped out of his crease against Chahal in the 28th over and then three overs later, he finally brought up a fighting half-century off 83 balls. Mathews at the other end took 80 balls to get to his second successive fifty as the duo’s century stand became the highest for any wicket for the hosts in this series.
Well placed at 181 for 3 after 38 overs, the platform was well and truly set for a final flourish but the script once again turned out to be quite similar to the ones that were witnessed earlier in the series. One wicket led to another as both set batsmen fell in quick succession to complicate matters. While Bhuvneshwar came back and cramped Thirimanne for room to induce the inside edge that shattered the stumps, Mathews attempted a scoop that took the top edge.