PALLEKELE: Irfan Pathan grabbed five wickets as India posted a 20-run victory over Sri Lanka in the fifth and final one-day international in Pallekele on Saturday to win the series 4-1.
The paceman finished with 5-61, his second five-wicket haul in one-dayers, as India bowled Sri Lanka out for 274 after scoring a challenging 294-7 in the day-night match.
Sri Lanka were struggling at 102-5 before Lahiru Thirimanne (77) and Jeevan Mendis (72) gave India some anxious moments with a 102-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Thirimanne hit three sixes and five fours in his career-best knock before he was run out, and then man-of-the-match Pathan removed Thisara Perera (18) and well-set Mendis in the same over.
Mendis cracked six fours in his maiden half-century in one-day internationals.
India earlier put in an impressive batting performance, with opener Gautam Gambhir (88), middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary (65) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (58) all making half-centuries.
“This was a very good wicket to bat on. Gautam batted well and we had a very good platform,” said Dhoni.
“We still need to improve, not only in bowling but also in batting.”India were under pressure at 87-3 but Gambhir and Tiwary propped up the innings with a 110-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Sri Lanka then got three quick wickets to reduce India to 213-6 before wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni and Pathan (29 not out) added 77 for the seventh wicket to help their team set a stiff target.
Fast bowlers Lasith Malinga (3-64) and Nuwan Pradeep (2-63) were the main wicket-takers for Sri Lanka.
“It was encouraging to see Thirimanne and Mendis taking on the challenge,”said stand-in Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews, leading the 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.”Malinga dismissed Tiwary and Suresh Raina off successive deliveries before taking his 200th wicket in one-day internationals when he had Dhoni caught behind. The Indian skipper smashed one six and eight fours.
Gambhir, who also completed 5,000 one-day runs during his 99-ball knock, was caught by Malinga at point off spinner Sachithra Senanayake after hitting seven fours.
Pradeep bagged two of the first three wickets when he trapped Virat Kohli (23) leg-before and bowled out-of-form Rohit Sharma (4) in successive overs.
Sharma finished the series with just 13 runs in five matches.
Kohli, who scored two centuries in five matches, was named man of the series.
Sri Lanka and India will now clash in a one-off Twenty20 international at the same venue on Tuesday.