India-Sri Lanka ODI ends in a thrilling tie

Adelaide: India paid the price for leaving too much for the end as their triangular series match against Sri Lanka ended in a nerve-wrecking tie tuesday despite captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s last-ditch charge to overhaul the target. India did well to restrict Sri Lanka to 236 for nine but their tense run chase got difficult with the pitch getting a little slower at the end and they were stopped at the same score in a match that saw fortunes fluctuating from one team to the other till the very end.

Gautam Gambhir (91) and Dhoni (58 not out) were the top performers for India, while Sachin Tendulkar (15), Rohit Sharma (15) and Suresh Raina (15) got the starts but couldn`t turn them into big scores. 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 was headed for a four which Upul Tharanga pulled back from the ropes. It still was three runs for the Indian captain and an exciting tie in the match.

Earlier, for the second game in running, Gambhir missed out on a century but played substantially enough to ensure India got something out of both matches. On Sunday, India beat Australia by four wickets to gain full four points and two from the game now takes them top of the heap with 10 points in the kitty from four matches.

Australia has nine points from three matches while Sri Lanka has two from three games. Gambhir and Dhoni came together at a critical time when India were 118 for four in the 28th over and another wicket could have really put the skates under their feet. But they batted with the calm they are known for and didn`t allow the scoring to drop too 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 with his throw was right on the mark. Gambhir made his 91 off 106 balls with six fours and for the second match in running, he was denied a century.

The pressure now built on India and they became six for 184 in the 44th over when Ravinder Jadeja (3) lofted a catch into the covers, leaving India to score 46 runs off the final five overs. The 46th over turned out to be a big one for India as Dhoni slammed Thisara Perera for a six and Ashwin drove him over extra cover for a four. In all 13 runs came from this over and the equation came down to 33 from the final four overs.

The 47th over, bowled by Kulasekara, produced five runs and India`s equation was now down to 28 from the final three overs. Malinga bowled the 48th over and it was as dramatic as it gets. Ravi Ashwin lofted a high catch but Sangakkara couldn`t latch on to it. Two deliveries later, Ashwin still lobbed a catch at short covers. India needed 24 runs from the final two overs.

The 49th over, bowled by Angelo Matthews, was a bonanza for India. Irfan Pathan hit a six off no-ball but then was run-out off the free hit. It helped India that Dhoni also hit a four off the penultimate delivery to make the calculation nine from the final over. In the last over, India could only manage eight runs with the loss of another wicket as the match ended in a draw.