Irfan Pathan impressed with the ball
The fifth match in the Commonwealth Bank series between India and Sri Lanka in Adelaide ended in a thrilling tie on Tuesday.
It was only the fifth tied game in the tournament's history, and the first involving the two countries.
While the bowlers helped India stay on course for a third straight win by restricting Sri Lanka to 236 for 9 on a placid Adelaide Oval wicket, the batsmen paid the price for leaving too much for the end.
India's bowlers stifled Sri Lanka's batting in the death overs to restrict the islanders to a modest total.
The Lankans, cruising at 168 for 3 in the 35th over, lost the plot after losing wickets in a clutch and raising a rather inadequate total against a powerful Indian line-up.
Irfan Pathan, playing in his first ODI since the West Indies toured India late last year, was impressive.
He picked the vital wicket of Tillakeratne Dilshan (16) early on to give India the edge.
Image: Irfan Pathan (L) of India celebrates the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka with captain MS Dhoni (C) during their one-day international cricket match in Adelaide
Chandimal anchored the innings with his fifth ODI fifty
Young Dinesh Chandimal perfectly anchored the innings, scoring his fifth ODI fifty.
He went on to score 81 that came off 91 balls and was inclusive of six hits to the fence and one over it.
Chandimal, who has a penchant for Indian bowling as his two previous innings against the major neighbours were worth 111 and 64 runs, was into his stride early and picked the gaps at will to quell the Indian attack.
The right-hander maneuvered the ball with deft hands and didn't allow the departures of his batting partners to affect his style or concentration.
Image: Dinesh Chandimal (R) celebrates after scoring 50 as Sachin Tendulkar looks on
Chandimal, Jayawardene put on 94 runs
Chandimal, till he was around, appeared Sri Lanka's saviour, after they were stuttering following the loss of openers Upul Tharanga (0) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (16) at 28 for 2 in the eighth over.
The promising youngster shared important stands of 51 and 94 with batting heavyweights Kumar Sangakkara (31) and Mahela Jayawardene (43) for the third and fourth wickets respectively before the Lankans lost wickets against the run of play.
The batting powerplay, claimed in the 36th over, turned the game on its head, as only 18 runs accrued from five overs and three wickets were lost.
Image: Dinesh Chandimal (L) is congratulated by captain Mahela Jayawardene (R) on his 50
Vinay Kumar picked three wickets
R Vinay Kumar was the pick of Indian bowlers, with figures of three for 46.
The sparse crowd had barely settled themselves in their seat when Upul Tharanga (0) departed to a catch behind the wicket off Vinay Kumar.
The bowler returned to pick the wickets of Mahela Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara (12).
Jayawardene left first, trying to flick Vinay Kumar on the onside and missing a delivery that headed on to his middle stumps.
Image: Vinay Kumar (R) makes a successful appeal for LBW against Mahela Jayawardene (L)
Ashwin made two key breakthroughs
R Ashwin was also impressive with the ball. The off-spinner had figures of two for 30.
Introduced into the attack in the 16th over, it didn't take Ashwin long to get rid off Kumar Sangakkara (31).
Sangakkara had laid the base for a long innings when he uncharacteristically tried to heave Ashwin out of the ground but could only lift it for Gautam Gambhir at point.
Ashwin also accounted for Thisara Perera (5), who went for a mindless heave and lofted a catch for long-on fielder Virat Kohli.
Gambhir top scored with 91
Gautam Gambhir (91) was India's best batsman, his 106-ball knock inclusive of six hits to the fence.
For the second match running, though, the left-hander was denied a century, having been dismissed for 92 against Australia a couple of days earlier.
Gambhir and Dhoni put together 50 runs for the fifth wicket, having come together when India were 118 for four in the 28th over.
Another wicket could have put the skates under Indian feet, but the duo batted with the calm they are known for and did not allow the scoring to drop as 50 between the two came off 58 balls.
However, disaster struck in the 41st over when Dhoni pushed Malinga to mid-on and took off only to pull his steps back. Gambhir, by then, was down the track a fair distance and Kulasekara's throw was right on the mark.
Image: Gautam Gambhir (L) plays a shot as wicket keeper Kumar Sangakkara looks on
Dhoni's unbeaten 58 wasn't enough
MS Dhoni's unbeaten 58 was a top-notch effort as well. However, it wasn't enough to win the match for his team.
Needing nine runs off the final over bowled by Lasith Malinga, India managed two runs off the first, two singles off the next two before Dhoni survived a run-out chance.
However, Vinay Kumar was run-out off the fifth ball, and it boiled down to four required from the final delivery.
Dhoni lobbed the final delivery towards extra cover and it headed for a four before Upul Tharanga pulled back the ball back before it could reach the rope.
It still was three runs for the Indian captain and an exciting tie in the end.
Image: MS Dhoni plays a shot in the crunch overs