India's Pathan strikes to deny Sri Lanka

Thirimanne, Mendis give hope in thrilling run-chase

India fast bowler Irfan Pathan's second five-wicket haul helped his team beat Sri Lanka by 20 runs in the fifth and final one-day international at Pallekele on Saturday.

Pathan took two crucial wickets in the 43rd over as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 274 just three overs later in reply to India's total of 294 for seven.

Pathan finished with figures of five for 61 to take the man of the match award.

The win gave India a 4-1 triumph in the five-match series and lifted them to second place in the ICC ODI rankings behind Australia.

India's total after they won the toss and batted first was based largely on two fine partnerships which prevented the home team from breaking through.

Gautam Gambir (88 off 99 balls) and Manoj Tiwary (65 off 68 balls) put on 110 off 121 balls for the fourth wicket after India had lost their first three wickets for 87.

Following that stand Sri Lanka once again broke through, capturing three wickets in two overs to reduce India to 213-6 but Mahendra Singh Dhoni joined by Pathan grabbed back the initiative with a partnership of 77 off 59 balls.

Dhoni slammed eight fours and a six in his 38-ball half century before providing Lasith Malinga with his 200th ODI wicket. Pathan's contribution was an unbeaten 29.

Sri Lanka lost half of their side for 102 in the run chase, but Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis turned the game around with a partnership of 102 off 124 balls.

Thirimanne made 77 off 96 balls before running himself out and Mendis scored 72 off 88 balls before edging a catch behind the wicket off the bowling of Pathan.

Sri Lanka were always ahead of the run rate but lost too many wickets to complete a victory.

The teams will play a one-off twenty20 international at the same venue on Tuesday.
 

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