An all-round display from India saw them thrash Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the third ODI at the Pallekele International Stadium on Sunday. With this stunning win, India have now taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. Chasing a modest target of 218, the visitors didn’t have the best of starts as Lasith Malinga dismissed Shikhar Dhawan early, but Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni put together an unbeaten stand of 157 for the fifth wicket to see Virat Kohli’s team home
Here is Cricketnext’s report card as we analyse the performance of every player from Sunday’s game.
Shikhar Dhawan — Rating: 1, Verdict: Very Poor
Having done really well so far on tour, Sunday night was the first time when Dhawan failed to shine with bat in hand. Even though he did start with a smashing cover drive, Lasith Malinga ended his stay with a ball that came in after pitching and cramped the opener for room. It wasn’t the ideal ball to cut, but Dhawan is known to have a weakness for the shot. After scores of 132* and 49 in the last two games, all Dhawan managed on Sunday was 5. Dhawan would clearly wish to get back to scoring ways as he is a clear contender for the Man of the Series award.
Virat Kohli — Rating: 3, Verdict: Poor
After a very successful start to the year, things haven’t quite looked up for the India skipper in the second half and on Sunday again, he was dismissed for just 3. With the team chasing 218 and Dhawan dismissed early, it was important for Kohli to stand ground and calm the nerves in the dressing room. But he failed to do that as a flick off Vishwa Fernando landed straight into Chameera’s hand at fine-leg. But when it came to leading the side on the field, Kohli was spot on with ringing in the changes and his decision to get Kedar Jadhav into the bowling attack and see the back of the experienced Angelo Mathews in the 35th over went a long way in ensuring that Sri Lanka did not manage to put up a competitive total on the board.
KL Rahul — Rating: 2, Verdict: Very Poor
Skipper Virat Kohli might have a liking for the Karnataka batsman, but then, the Test opener needs to start scoring if he wishes to enjoy the run he is getting in the 50-over format. While he managed just 4 in the second ODI, he once again flattered to deceive on Sunday as he hit a 24-ball 17. Even though he seemed to be comfortable against the pacers, Dananjaya started troubling him from the word go. And it was Dananjaya who dismissed Rahul with a long hop that the batsman hit straight to Thirimanne at deep mid-wicket. With the team needing a partnership at that stage, after losing Dhawan and Kohli early, it was indeed immature of Rahul to throw his wicket away.
Kedar Jadhav — Rating: 2, Verdict: Very Poor
Kedar might have turned out to become Kohli’s Man with the Golden Arm, but the diminutive Maharashtra player must remember that his primary job is that of a batsman. This series has seen Kedar look completely out of sea with bat in hand and it was no different on Sunday as Dananjaya dismissed him for a duck. With the score reading 61/3, it was important for Kedar to show some application. But it looked like he just knows how to attack and an attempted pull saw him caught plumb in front. His only moment of joy in the game came when he dismissed Mathews LBW and ensured that the Lankans lost the plot in the middle overs and ended with just 217/9 in their 50 overs.
MS Dhoni — Rating: 8.5, Verdict: Very Good
He might no longer be the explosive finisher that he once was, but MS Dhoni is still India’s best bet when it comes to finishing games. After a match-winning unbeaten knock of 45 in the previous ODI, he played another composed knock of 67* as India romped home with 6 wickets in the bag. While the previous game saw him grind it out, he was more than happy to play a few attacking shots on Sunday and even hit a six off Siriwardana as the ball landed way into the stands. The only negative marking would come from the fact that Dhoni looked sloopy a couple of times behind the wicket and would definitely want to tighten his act with the big gloves in hand.
Hardik Pandya — Rating: 5, Verdict: Average
Did not get to bat on Sunday, but Hardik’s bowling was fiery in spells as he was also instrumental in sending back Dinesh Chandimal for 36 and break the best partnership Sri Lanka had in the game — between Chandimal and Thirimanne of 72 for the third wicket. In fact, Hardik ended up handing Chandimal a fractured thumb as a ball from the medium-pacer knocked Sri Lanka’s Test captain straight on the thumb. While Hardik was also a livewire on the field, he did leak runs and ended up with figures of 1/42 from his 8 overs. The all-rounder would wish to keep things tighter in the remaining games.
Axar Patel — Rating: 8.5, Verdict: Very Good
He might have picked just one wicket in his 10-over spell on Sunday, but it was more about him tightening the screws from one end than picking wickets as far as his role in the third ODI was concerned. He kept pitching it in the right areas and finished with figures of 1/35 from his 10. Things could have been more economical, but Axar leaked some runs in the last two overs as the Lankan batsmen tried to take the attack to the left-arm spinner. Back in the team after some time, Axar has shown that he worked really hard on his game during his time away from the national team.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar — Rating: 4, Verdict: Average
The pacer after an impressive show in the second ODI on Thursday, had a pretty quiet game on Sunday. Even though he did bowl well in patches, he did not have luck on his side and went wicketless in his 9-over spell. With the wicket helping the bowlers, one would have expected him to make some early inroads, but then he flattered to deceive. In fact, Bhuvi is yet to pick a wicket on Lanka soil this series.
Jasprit Bumrah — Rating: 10, Verdict: Excellent
He was undoubtedly the star for India with ball in hand. He single-handedly ensured that the derailed the Lankan batting as he picked three of the top four batsmen in the Sri Lanka line-up with Hardik picking the wicket of Chandimal. Bumrah then came back to pick two more in the business end — Siriwardana and Dananjaya — as he scalped his first five-wicket haul on Sunday. The feat was well-deserved as he kept bowling a tight line and length and did not give the batsmen any room to work with. With the wicket assisting the bowlers, Bumrah made perfect use of the conditions as he kept pitching the ball up to help it swing and seam. With 11 wickets in three games so far, Bumrah is clearly a contender for the Man of the Series award.
Yuzvendra Chahal — Rating: 4, Verdict: Average
Chahal has mostly been the vital cog in Virat Kohli’s army. But Chahal had a rare off day on Sunday as he failed to pick wickets. More importantly, he kept leaking runs and that did not help India’s case as they needed to build on the pressure put up by Jasprit Bumrah and Axar Patel. Chahal kept bowling bad balls in almost every over and was punished by the Lanka batsmen. Chahal would definitely wish to change his fate going into the 4th ODI.