Sri Lanka beat India by 5 wickets

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sri Lanka have defeated India by five wickets in the fifth one-day international at Ahmedabad.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Sri Lanka have defeated India by five wickets in the fifth one-day international at Ahmedabad. Despite two impressive centuries by Indian captain Rahul Dravid (103) and Gautam Gambhir (103), the Lankans fought back with renewed energy to achieve the winning target of 286 set by the Indians. With this win, the Lankans have made the series 4-1 though India have already won the seven-match series 4-0 after the win in Pune. Wickets tumble Chasing 286 to win on Sunday, the Lankans kept losing wickets at regular intervals, but the 131-run partnership between Tillekeratne Dilshan (81 not out) and Russel Arnold (49 not out) proved to be unbeatable. For India, Ajit Agarkar got the breakthrough in the fifth over when Sanath Jayasuriya was sent back for eight with Venugopal Rao taking the catch. Agarkar struck again in the 13th over and Upal Tharanga lobbed the ball into the hands of Virender Sehwag. For once, it seemed like Kumara Sangakkara would again play a long innings to get to the target, but R P Singh struck and Rao caught Sangakkara (39). Captain Marvan Atapattu then joined Jayawardene at the crease and the duo put up a gutsy 70-run partnership off 67 balls. But Murali Kartik then broke the partnership Atapattu (39) getting caught and bowled. Mahela Jayawardene, who had scored 37 off 44 balls was then sent back to the pavilion – the result of a run-out – by JP Yadav. But Dilshan and Arnold saw the visitors through to their target. Gambhir's ton Earlier, a ton each by Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir saw India set a target of 286 for the visitors after Sri Lanka put India to bat. Gambhir set the tone for the Indian innings with his maiden ODI century which included 13 boundaries and a six. Gambhir's 103 off just 97 balls is his career-best score, surpassing his 71 off 89 balls against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2003. Though wickets kept falling at the other end, Dravid stood by, scoring his first ODI ton as captain. The century was 11th in Dravid's career and third against Sri Lanka. He remained unbeaten on 103 as India scored 285 for 8 in their allotted 50 overs. Beginning the innings, India got off to a flying start, racing to 50 runs in just seven overs, but the Lankan bowlers picked up three crucial wickets. India suffered their first setback when Nuwan Zoysa bowled opener Virender Sehwag in the eighth over of the match for 19. Zoysa then trapped MS Dhoni leg before wicket for a duck with his next delivery. Chaminda Vaas then struck and Yuvraj Singh was caught by Mahela Jayawardene in the 13th over for three. Maharoof strikes Despite India losing three early wickets, Dravid and Gambhir seemed set for a big partnership but a late charge by Fervez Maharoof saw India losing four wickets in quick succession. First to go was Gambhir (103) – caught by Marvan Atapattu off a Maharoof delivery. The new man at the crease, Venugopal Rao scored 6 off 9 balls but was sent back by Maharoof, Upal Tharanga taking the catch as Rao tried to flick it towards the boundary. Suresh Raina tried to support his skipper at the crease with a quickfire 13 off 10 deliveries, but he was bundled out leg before, again by Maharoof. Maharoof then struck again and Ajit Agarkar, the new man at the crease, was caught at mid-on by Russel Arnold for 4. Murali Kartik added some valuable runs with Dravid but a full toss from Dilhara Fernando saw him handing the ball straight to Atapattu. Sachin, Pathan rested India rested Sachin Tendulkar, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh for the day and night clash. Gautam Gambhir, RP Singh and Murali Karthik were brought into the team. JP Yadav was the Supersub for India. Mahela Jayawardene, who had missed the last match at Pune as he was getting married, also returned to the Sri Lankan team for this match.

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