Harare: A sloppy India crashed out of the cricket tri-series after Sri Lanka, riding on Dinesh Chandimal’s maiden century, thumped them by six wickets in a crucial one dayer here on Saturday.
Tottering on the brink of disaster after their back-to-back defeat against Zimbabwe, India badly needed to win this match with a big margin to keep alive their final hopes but they could not pull off a repeat performance of their previous encounter with the Lankans and went down with 1.4 overs to spare.
Chandimal’s (111) 118-ball knock, which included six fours and five sixes, knocked the stuffing out of India’s feeble bowling attack as Sri Lanka cruised to 270 for four in 48.2 overs.
Monday’s Sri Lanka-Zimbabawe match is now rendered inconsequential and they would meet again in Wednesday’s final at the same venue.
Earlier put into bat, India had posted 268 for nine with Virat Kohli (68), Yusuf Pathan (44) and R Ashwin (38) scoring bulk of the runs.
Desperate for a win, India effected three changes in the squad — bringing in the uncapped trio of Naman Ojha, Pankaj Singh and R Ashwin while leaving out Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra — but the win remained elusive.
Sri Lanka’s chase got off to a brisk start with Tillakaratne Dilshan (21) looking in his element before he fell to Ashok Dinda in the sixth over.
Chandimal joined Upul Tharanga (27) in the middle and looked quite at ease against the Indian attack.
Even after Tharanga fell to R Ashwin, Chandimal continued the good work in company of Chamara Kapugedera (42). He used his feet well against the spinners and never allowed the Indian bowlers to dictate terms.
Chandimal smote Pankaj Singh over mid-on, greeted Pragyan Ojha with a six and twice hit Ashwin out of the ground.
Ashwin eventually had Chandimal stumped in the 41st over but by then, the writing was clear on the wall for India.
Jeevan Mendis (35) and Thilan Samaraweera (28) completed for the formality for the Sri Lankans with consummate ease.
Earlier, Virat Kohli curbed his aggressive instinct to score a 95-ball 68 on the low and slow Harare Sports Club wicket and shared a crucial 84-run third-wicket stand with Yusuf Pathan (44 balls) to take India beyond the 250 mark.
Kohli’s innings was a struggle from the word go as he found boundaries hard to come by and dealt mostly in singles and twos.
Pathan, on the other hand, provided the acceleration from the other end with a brisk 41-ball innings during which he struck six fours and a huge six.
Desperate for a win, India effected large-scale changes in the squad but there was no end to their opening woes as debutant Naman Ojha managed just one run in his ODI debut before Thilan Kulasekara trapped him plumb in front.
The other opener Dinesh Karthik (27) looked in good nick and hit five delectable boundaries before Thissara Perera caught him of his own bowling.
Kohli and Pathan, promoted in the order, steadied the ship to guide India from 41 for two to 125 for three before Suraj Randiv removed Pathan in the 24th over.
Kohli continued the good work in company of in-form Rohit Sharma (32 off 40) and their association produced 46 runs before the India vice captain fell to Thilan Thushara.
Rohit was inching close to his fifty when Randiv castled him while captain Suresh Raina (19) and Ravindra Jadeja (19) could not capitalise on the starts they got and gave away their wickets.
Debutant R Ashwin, however, sparkled down the order with a 32-ball 38 in which he struck four boundaries and a six as India crossed the 260-mark.
Left-arm pacer Thilan Thushara was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with figures of three for 57 from his nine overs while off-spinner Suraj Randiv picked up two crucial wickets for 38 from his quota of 10 overs.