New Delhi:India's seamers cut right through the Lankan batting, handing them a 33-run loss in seam-friendly conditions at the Premadasa on Sunday night.
Chasing 238 to win the third ODI, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jaywardene stood in India's way for long. Batting with a runner, he made a superlative 94 and was the ninth out.
Zaheer Khan was sharp with the inswinger, taking 3-23. Pravin Kumar, though expensive, made two new-ball strikes, taking 2-62. Munaf Patel focussed on a tight line, finishing with 3-42.
Sri Lanka could make just 204 in 49 overs in response to India's 237-9. India struggled to get going again, but captain M.S. Dhoni's 76 and Suresh Raina's 53 helped them master Muttiah Muralitharan (0-48) and Ajantha Mendis (3-56).
Seam and swing under lights
Praveen Kumar sent back the dangerous Sanath Jayasuriya, caught behind, for 13. Kumar then trapped Chamara Kapugedera LBW with a slow leg cutter.
Zaheer worked his in-cutting ball well. Kumar Sangakkara and Chamara Silva had no answer to it.
Next, Tillakaratne Dilshan tried to drive Munaf on the up, but the outswinger took the edge and went to Dhoni.
Next over, Harbhajan Singh, who bowled economically in the middle overs (10-0-29-1), bowled Chaminda Vaas with one that straightened.
Nuwan Kulasekara held one end up for his captain but he fell seventh with the score on 94.
Thushara to the rescue
It looked lights out for the Lankans but Thilan Thushara turned the match around. His 30 (55 balls, 2x4) helped the home side claw back into the match.
Thushara added 81 with Jayawardene, who had crossed 50 (80 balls, 3x4). His vigil finally ended, thanks to a Zaheer yorker.
Jayawardene decided to go for broke, hitting Munaf for two fours and moving into the nineties. Here, umpire Billy Doctrove's monumental blunder cost India a run out.
Munaf ran Mendis out at the bowler's end. But Doctrove gave it not out and did not refer it. TV replays showed Mendis was short. Dhoni, having possibly seen the replay, asked Doctrove to refer the decision to the third umpire. Doctrove did not oblige.
Luckily for India, Jayawardene was out in the same over, scooping a straight ball to short fine leg. He was ninth out on 192, and his wicket finally signalled Sri Lanka's end.
Dhoni leads from the front
Indian skipper Dhoni's well-constructed 76 runs guided India to 237-9. It was Dhoni's 22nd ODI fifty and it instrumental in 50-plus partnerships with Raina and Rohit Sharma (32 from 32 balls).
Sri Lankan fielding was equally sharp as they sent two batsmen back in the hut for being slow between the wickets.
India got the first shock when opener Virat Kohli fell short of his crease and lost his wicket.
Chamara Silva at mid-wicket picked the ball cleanly and wrapped up Kohli's innings with a direct throw. He made 25 runs and added 39 runs for the first wicket.
Gambhir, making a comeback after missing the second ODI, could make just eight runs. He played Kulasekara across the line and ball hit his pad in front of the middle stump.
It was Doctrove's first dubious decision of the day. Replays suggested that the ball had pitched outside leg.
Yuvraj Singh played some flashy shots - including a short-pull for six - before Kulasekara tricked him to edge a delivery to the first slip. He made 12.
S Badrinath made just 6 before losing his wicket to Mendis.
After captain Dhoni came onto the crease, he paired with Suresh Raina and added 54 runs for the fifth wicket. Raina scored a patient fifty but was run out by Dilshan for 53 runs.
Rohit Sharma scored 32 and added 67 runs with Dhoni for the sixth wicket before he holed out to cover.
Kapugedera caught him off Thilan Thushara's bowling. Mendis dismissed Harbhajan and Dhoni off successive deliveries.