India took time but eventually chased down the modest target of 136 runs in 19.2 overs to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final Twenty20 International at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. The hosts completed 3-0 series whitewash with the thrilling victory.
Senior batsmen MS Dhoni (16 not out) and Dinesh Karthik (18 not out) took India home with four balls to spare in the end. The duo added a match-winning unbeaten 31 runs for the sixth wicket.
India struggled early in the chase as they lost opener KL Rahul in the fourth over and reduced to 17/1 in 3.2 overs. Rohit Sharma (27 off 20 balls) continued his good form and hit a six and four fours to lead the chase before he was holed out at deep square off Dasun Shanaka, which left India at 39/2 in 7 overs.
It was not easy to bat, but Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey slowly rebuilt the innings and added 42 runs, in 6.2 overs, for the third wicket to take India closer to the target. Iyer, who scored 30 off 32 balls with the help of a six and a four, was unlucky to lose his wicket at the non-striker's end when the ball ricochet from the bowler Akila Dananjaya's palm and hit the stumps. By then the match was evenly poised with India at 81/3 in 13.2 overs.
India lost Manish Pandey (32) and Hardik Pandya (4) in seven balls to give Sri Lanka more hopes. After Pandya became the second victim of Shanaka, Dushmantha Chameera clean bowled Pandey. He top-scored for India with 32 off 29 balls which included four boundaries.
Earlier, Indian bowlers continued to torment the Sri Lankan batsmen as the hosts restricted the visitors to a modest 135 for seven.
While the supremely confident Indian bowlers came out firing, Lankans many a times appeared to be in dilemma as if to attack or stay patient. In a hurry to collect runs, they ended up playing poor lofted shots on good balls, resulting in tame dismissals.
Asela Gunaratne was the only batsman, who applied himself well and played a slow but crucial 36-run knock that took Sri Lanka past the 100-run mark.
Jaydev Unadkat, who generated a lot of pace in his first spell, was the most outstanding Indian bowler with figures of impressive 4-0-15-2. His pace colleague, Mohammed Siraj, though proved very expensive, leaking 45 runs from his four overs with 18 coming in the last over of the innings.
Debutant Washington Sundar (1/22) and Unadkat removed the top three batsmen in space of 11 balls to rattle the visitors.
The 18-year-old Sundar maintained a tight line and length, and caught dangerous Kusal Perera (4) off his own bowling after Unadkat got rid of Niroshan Dickwella (1). The Saurashtra paceman added wicket of Upul Tharanga (11) to his tally as the Lankan opener was guilty of playing a reckless shot considering the situation.