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India beats Sri Lanka by 5 wickets, sweeps T20 series 3-0

December 24, 2017

Players and support staff of Indian cricket team sport Santa caps as they pose with the winners trophy after their win in the third Twenty20 international cricket match against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Indian won the series 3-0. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

MUMBAI, India (AP) — India beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final Twenty20 in Mumbai on Sunday to seal a 3-0 win in the series.

It was India’s first clean-sweep in a bilateral T20 series against Sri Lanka.

Put into bat at Wankhede Stadium, Sri Lanka was restricted to 135-7. India scored 139-5 to win with four balls left.

The visitors got off to a bad start with Jaidev Unadkat (2-15) striking twice to remove openers Niroshan Dickwella (1) and Upul Tharanga (11) in successive overs.

Newcomer Washington Sundar (1-22) accounted for Kusal Perera (4) as Sri Lanka struggled at 18-3.

Sadeera Samarawickrama (21) and Asela Gunaratne (36) added 38 runs for the fourth wicket to revive the innings before Hardik Pandya (2-25) provided a double breakthrough to remove both batsmen in the space of three overs.

Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals and only managed to cross 100 in the 16th over. Dasun Shanaka scored 29 not out off 24 balls, with two sixes, to give the visitors a fighting but sub-par total.

“We are proud of our effort as a bowling unit. We have to click more with our batting,” said Sri Lanka captain Thisara Perera. “We have learnt a lot in this series because India is a big team at the moment.”

India lost Lokesh Rahul (4) early, out lbw to Dushmantha Chameera (2-22) in the fourth over.

Rohit Sharma (27) and Shreyas Iyer (30) added 22 runs for the second wicket. Sharma was caught in the deep off Dasun Shanaka (2-27) against the run of play.

Iyer then added 42 runs with Manish Pandey (32) for the third wicket as the hosts looked in control.

But Sri Lanka fought its way back as Iyer was run out when the ball deflected onto the stumps off bowler Akila Dananjaya.

India lost both Pandey and Pandya (4) in the space of eight balls but Dinesh Karthik (18 not out) and MS Dhoni (16 not out) calmly took India to victory.

India won the first T20 in Cuttack by 93 runs and the second in Indore by 88 runs.

“There were a few hiccups in the middle, but we knew whatever the target we would be able to achieve it,” said Sharma, India’s stand-in skipper. “We were able to give opportunities to different players as well as win the series. The youngsters were confident. We are now looking forward to South Africa.”

The first test between host South Africa and India starts Jan. 5 in Cape Town.

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