x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

India clinch three-run win in epic ODI

India survive a thrilling Sri Lanka chase to win by three runs as the teams pile up more than 800 runs between them.

India pipped Sri Lanka by just three runs in a scintillating opening game of their one-day international series which saw more than 800 runs scored in Rajkot.

India posted their highest one-day international total of 414 for seven, the fifth highest in history, led by a swashbuckling 146 from 102 balls by Virender Sehwag.

Tillakaratne Dilshan starred for the tourists with a personal best of 160 off 124 balls while Kumar Sangakkara added a 43-ball 90. But three late run outs cost Sri Lanka as they were just short on 411 for eight.

The combined runs total of 825 is the second-highest aggregate scored in a limited overs game.

Sehwag smashed six sixes and 17 boundaries in his 146 and he shared a 153-run opening stand with Sachin Tendulkar (69 off 63 balls) after Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, sent India in first on a docile pitch. Dilshan then outshone Sehwag's heroics with his 160, and with Upul Tharanga (67 off 60) hit 188 in a 24-overs opening stand. Besides the two centuries from Sehwag and Dilshan, the two captains, MS Dhoni and Sangakkara, provided full entertainment. Dhoni blasted seven fours and three sixes in a 53-ball 72 and the Sri Lanka captain hit 10 fours and five sixes in his whirlwind knock.

However, the Indian pace duo Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra bowled tidy spells at the end to take the game away from the tourists.

"It's quite tough to be cool when you score 400 and almost lose it," said Dhoni. "We were not really up to the mark in the first 35 overs, maybe we just accepted that the wicket had got better, maybe we were not focused. But the way we bowled and fielded after that was awesome. Also we could have scored 450, which would have been an 'above-par' score. Catches, if you don't take offerings from batsmen you are going to be in trouble."

Sangakkara added: "It is actually worse when you come this close and lose, rather than lose easily. Most of the time you can roll over and die chasing over 400, but we almost made it. After 35 overs, we should have batted smartly; India held their nerve better than us."

South Africa hold the record for the highest successful run chase, scoring 438 for nine in reply to Australia's 434 in Johannesburg in March 2006.

Sehwag took the man-of-the-match award and said: "I scored 200 in Tests, 50 in Twenty20, I was telling myself I am in good form and I have to utilise it. We [Sehwag and Tendulkar] were aiming for 350 to begin with, but MS [Dhoni] played well and raised the bar.

"In Test matches I score big hundreds, but in ODIs I get out in the 30s and 40s, so this is good time to convert them into big hundreds."

Sri Lanka scored 99 from 81 deliveries after Sangakkara's dismissal, but Harbhajan Singh removed both Sanath Jayasuriya and Dilshan in quick succession to restore India's control. Mahela Jayawardene was run out for three, but Thilina Kandamby and Angelo Mathews put the chase back on track with a 56-run stand for the sixth wicket. Kandamby was run out and Thilan Samaraweera followed him back to the pavilion, leaving Sri Lanka needing 11 off the last over. Nehra conceded only seven runs and claimed the wicket of Mathews as Sri Lanka fell just short.