PALLEKELE: India captain MS Dhoni has eyed improvement despite his side’s 4-1 win in the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka.
Left-arm bowler Irfan Pathan grabbed five wickets as India posted a 20-run victory in the final ODI in Pallekele to also go up to number two in the International Cricket Council ODI rankings.
Pathan finished with five for 61, his second five-wicket haul in ODIs, as India bowled Sri Lanka out for 274 after scoring a challenging 294 for seven in the day-night match.
Sri Lanka were struggling at 102 for five before Lahiru Thirimanne (77) and Jeevan Mendis (72) gave India some anxious moments with a 102-run stand for the sixth wicket.
However, Thirimanne was run out and Pathan then picked up three quick wickets to dent Sri Lanka’s hopes of a consolation win.
“This was a very good wicket to bat on,” said Dhoni. “We had a very good platform. We still need to improve, not only in the bowling but also the batting department. The guy who was set usually carried it forward but it’s important that we dictate the bowling and score 15 runs more than the par score.”
Earlier, India were under pressure at 87 for three but Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary propped up the innings with a 110-run stand for the fourth wicket.
“It was encouraging to see Thirimanne and Mendis taking on the challenge,” said Angelo Mathews, leading the Sri Lanka side in the absence of Mahela Jayawardene who was rested.
“The Indians have a very good batting line-up and unfortunately we fell short by 20 runs.”
Mathews, team fined
Meanwhile, the stand-in captain was also fined 20 per cent of his match fee for maintaining a slow over-rate in the final game. Match referee Chris Broad found Sri Lanka to be one over short, after taking allowances into consideration, and fined the rest of the team 10 per cent of their fees.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2012.
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