Brilliant Gambhir Hits 150 But Murali Takes The Record
India 332-5 (Gambhir 150, Dhoni 94, Kulasekara 3-63) v Sri Lanka
4th One Day International, Colombo: India lead series 3-0
Records fell at the R. Premadesa Stadium in Colombo and although Muttiah Muralitharan celebrated his record 503rd ODI wicket, India were the happier side after Gautam Gambhir's 150 helped them post 332 for five after they won the toss and chose to bat first.
Gambhir became the first man to post 150 in Sri Lanka in an ODI before becoming Muralitharan's landmark wicket when he was caught behind by wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara to end a stunning innings.
"It's a great achievement," Muralitharan said after the innings. "It's a great honour for me to take (the record in) both forms of the game."
Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (94) added 188 for the third wicket after Virender Sehwag was out for five early and Suresh Raina smashed a late unbeaten 49 to ensure India didn't lose their way despite losing two wickets in two balls to Nuwan Kulasekara.
Sehwag was well caught by Sanath Jayasuriya trying to repeat a driven four down the ground but his demise paved the way for Gambhir and Dhoni, in at number three to further illustrate the flexibility and dynamism of this Indian side, to put Sri Lanka on the back foot.
At first, Sri Lanka bowled tightly, and after the first ten overs India were at 50 for one and after 15, they had made their way to 82 before the onslaught began.
Two days ago, Sri Lanka suffered at the hands of another right-hand-left-hand partnership when Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh took them for 221, and today Gambhir and Dhoni might have had Sri Lankan fielders wondering whether they were playing the same match over in their head.
Gambhir reached his half-century with an imperious six over midwicket off of Angelo Mathews and Dhoni hammered Jayasuriya for a big six straight down the ground as Sri Lanka's outfielding was once again short of world-class.
Dilhara Fernando struggled with ball in hand, thrashed over midwicket by Gambhir, warned by the umpires for running on the pitch and bowling three wides and a no-ball but it was he who brought about Dhoni's demise with a catch at short third man.
The ball before, Mathews had dropped Dhoni as he came steaming in from the cover boundary but Fernando made no mistake much to the relief of bowler Jayasuriya and Mathews.
Kulasekara then had both Yuvraj (5) and Yusuf Pathan (0) bowled with consecutive deliveries but India were not to denied as after Raina survived the hat-trick ball, he went on to hit four fours and a six to close unbeaten on 49 in 37 balls alongside Rohit Sharma, who had four.
India lead the series 3-0 and opted to rest Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan with Sharma coming into the side along with Irfan Pathan while for Sri Lanka, Mathews replaced Ajantha Mendis.
© Cricket World 2009