New Delhi:MS Dhoni & Co achieved a rare feat on Thursday when they bundled Sri Lanka for 265 runs in the fourth one-dayer at Colombo to set a new Indian record with their 9th straight ODI win. The earlier record of eight consecutive wins was jointly held by Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.
Dhoni won the toss for the fourth time in a row and chose to bat. India made 332/5 with the help of knocks from Gautam Gambhir (150) and Dhoni (94). Suresh Raina remained unbeaten on 49 runs.
Gambhir became the first Indian batsman to make 150 on the Lankan soil against the hosts and was given the 'Man of the match award'. His feat was soon overshadowed by the Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan who dismissed the Indian opener as his 503rd victim and became highest wicket-taker in the One-Day Internationals. He is world's most successful Test bowler with 769 wickets.
However, it was Nuwan Kulasekara who picked three wickets to slow down India's run-riot. India lost Sehwag early when he steered a Kulasekara-delivery to Sanath Jayasuriya who dived in front to take a brilliant catch at mid-off. He could contribute only 5 runs.
After Sehwag's early fall, MS Dhoni (94) and Gambhir consolidated India's innings and added 188 runs for the second wicket when Jayasuriya deprived the Indian captain from raising his hundred. He got a thick outside edge and Dilhara Fernando at short third man took a single-handed catch.
Dhoni was soon joined by the 'man of the last match' Yuvraj Singh (5) in the dressing room as he was done in by a yorker from Kulasekara. The southpaw was completely beaten and the ball crashed into the stumps. Batsman to follow, Yusuf Pathan couldn't even survive a ball. He tried to steer a short ball from Kulasekara in the third man region but the ball took an inside edge of his bat and dislodged the bails.
Chasing a mammoth total of 333 runs, Sri Lanka were totally outdone by the visitors in all departments of the game as they lost the game by 67 runs despite some fight by Nuwan Kulasekara lower in the batting order.
They lost their openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakratne Dilshan to Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar respectively.
Jayasuriya along with Tillakratne Dilshan gave a blistering start to his side. He made quickfire 27 runs before Irfan send him back in the hut. After being slapped with a huge six off the cover region, Irfan teased him with a short stuff that was going outside the off-stump. Sanath hit it straight to Rohit Sharma at short cover. Dilshan top-edged Praveen's short stuff and gave Yuvraj a simple catch at point.
After their dismissal, the game was disrupted following the unruly crowd behaviour. Indian skipper Dhoni, who was apparently upset, took his team off the field.
Soon after the game resumed, India's part-time spinner Virender Sehwag dismissed Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene for 28 runs. Mahela nicked the delivery that wicketkeeper Dhoni collected in the second attempt.
Sehwag got his second victim in Kumar Sangakkara who was the lone fighting batsman from the opposition camp. He slammed 47th ODI fifty, his sixth against India before Gambhir caught him at the long-on.
In-form batsman Thilina Kandamby's outing was cut short by Yusuf Pathan who dismissed him as the fourth Sri Lankan wicket. Yusuf's tweaker drifted back in and rapped Kandamby on his pads to see him back for 10 runs. He fell soon after Kumar Sangakkara fifty.
After Sangakkara's wicket, wickets fell in heaps. While Angelo Mathews was dismissed by Yuvraj Singh, Chamara Kapugedera failed to read Pragyan Ojha's straight delivery and went back for 16 runs
Irfan Pathan came back with his second spell and picked Farveez Maharoof and Murali off successive deliveries. Kulasekara then joined Dilhara Fernando to add 45 runs for the last wicket but the fightback came a bit too late.
With leading the series 4-0, what remains to be seen is can India make it a clean sweep on Sunday?