Harare: A sloppy India crashed out of the cricket tri-series after Sri Lanka, riding on Dinesh Chandimal's maiden century, thumped them by six wickets in a crucial One-dayer on Saturday.
Tottering on the brink of disaster after their back-to-back defeat against Zimbabwe, India badly needed to win this match with a big margin to keep alive their final hopes but they could not pull off a repeat performance of their previous encounter with the Lankans and went down with 1.4 overs to spare.
Chandimal's (111) 118-ball knock, which included six fours and five sixes, knocked the stuffing out of India's feeble bowling attack as Sri Lanka cruised to 270 for four in 48.2 overs. Monday's Sri Lanka-Zimbabawe match is now rendered inconsequential and they would meet again in Wednesday's final at the same venue.
Put into bat, India had posted 268 for nine with Virat Kohli (68), Yusuf Pathan (44) and R Ashwin (38) scoring bulk of the runs. Desperate for a win, India effected three changes in the squad - bringing in the uncapped trio of Naman Ojha, Pankaj Singh and R Ashwin while leaving out Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra - but the win remained elusive.
Sri Lanka's chase got off to a brisk start with Tillakaratne Dilshan (21) looking in his element before he fell to Ashok Dinda in the sixth over. Chandimal joined Upul Tharanga (27) in the middle and looked quite at ease against the Indian attack.
Even after Tharanga fell to R Ashwin, Chandimal continued the good work in company of Chamara Kapugedera (42). He used his feet well against the spinners and never allowed the Indian bowlers to dictate terms.
Chandimal smote Pankaj Singh over mid-on, greeted Pragyan Ojha with a six and twice hit Ashwin out of the ground. Ashwin eventually had Chandimal stumped in the 41st over but by then, the writing was clear on the wall for India.
Jeevan Mendis (35) and Thilan Samaraweera (28) completed for the formality for the Sri Lankans with consummate ease.
Earlier, Virat Kohli's sedate half-century guided India to a competitive 268 for nine against Sri Lanka in a must-win match. Kohli curbed his aggressive instinct to score a 95-ball 68 on the low and slow Harare Sports Club wicket and shared a crucial 84-run third-wicket stand with Yusuf Pathan (44) to take India beyond the 250 mark.
Kohli's innings was a struggle from the word go as he found boundaries hard to come by and dealt mostly in singles and twos. But he did not give up and displayed immense patience during his 95-ball stay, evident from the fact that he found the fence only five times in the entire innings.
Yusuf, on the other hand, provided the acceleration from the other end with a brisk 41-ball innings during which he struck six fours and a huge six. However, the Indian openers continued their poor run as Dinesh Karthik (27) and debutant Naman Ojha (1) failed to give the team a good start.
In-form Rohit Sharma (32 off 40), captain Suresh Raina (19) and Ravindra Jadeja (19) all got starts but failed to capitalise, giving away their wickets tamely. Another debutant R Ashwin sparkled down the order with a 32-ball 38 during which he struck four boundaries and a six.
Left-arm pacer Thilan Thushara was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with figures of three for 57 from his nine overs while off-spinner Suraj Randiv picked up two crucial wickets for 38 from his quota of 10 overs.
India 268 for 9 (Kohli 68, Yusuf 44, Thushara 3-57)
Sri Lanka 270 for 4 (Chandimal 111)
Result Sri Lanka won by six wickets
MOM Dinesh Chandimal (Sri Lanka)
Points Sri Lanka 4, India 0