COLOMBO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni led India to their maiden one-day series triumph in Sri Lanka, winning the fourth one-day international by 46 runs to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka were once again let down by their top order batting and succumbed for 212 all out chasing India’s score of 258.
Only Sanath Jayasuriya with a quickfire 60 off 52 balls including eight fours and two sixes and a late bash by tailender Thilan Thushara who scored 40 off 29 balls with two sixes and two fours, prolonged the end.
The spin of Harbhajan Singh (3-40) and Yuvraj Singh (2-53) accounted for the Sri Lankan wickets. They found appreciable turn from the pitch that was used for the third one-day game played on Sunday.
Dhoni and Suresh Raina hit their second back-to-back fifties and shared in a fourth-wicket stand of 143 off 141 balls to carry India to 258 all out after the Indian captain had won his fourth successive toss of the series.
Man-of-the-match Raina said his game was in good shape “thanks to the back room support from Robin (Singh), Gary (Kirsten) and Paddy Upton.
“They gave us a lot of support. We had lots of good practice sessions in Sri Lanka and we have come up with a very good team. Hopefully we will maintain the same intensity in international matches now.”
Virat Kohli set the pace for the pair by scoring his maiden one-day half-century and sharing an opening partnership of 44 with Gautam Gambhir.
Kohli hit seven fours in his knock of 54 off 66 balls before becoming the first of five victims of left-arm fast bowler Thushara who went on to take his first five-for haul in one-day cricket.
The Raina-Dhoni stand raised Indian hopes of achieving a big total but Sri Lanka came back strongly to put the brakes on the Indian run rate and capture the last seven wickets for 34 runs.
Thushara broke the stand by having Raina caught at long-off by Kulasekera for 76 off 78 balls, with six fours and one six. Eight runs later he sent back Dhoni for 71 made in 80 balls with four fours.
India lost their momentum and were dismissed with two balls of the final over to spare.
Yuvraj Singh became Chaminda Vaas’s 400th wicket in one-day internationals when he was caught at short mid-wicket for a duck. Vaas, playing in his 322nd one day international, joined three other bowlers who had taken 400 wickets -- Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Muttiah Muralitharan.
The four previous bilateral one-day series played by India in Sri Lanka had ended in the host country winning two and drawing two.
Editing by Clare Lovell
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