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India and Sri Lanka dramatically tied the latest game in the Commonwealth Bank Series of One-Day Internationals in Adelaide after Mahendra Singh Dhoni managed to gather three runs from the final ball.
After Sri Lanka posted 236 for nine, Dhoni needed four to win from the final delivery, bowled by Lasith Malinga, and after he scrambled three to finish unbeaten on 58 not out, India closed on an identical score.
Dinesh Chandimal (81) and Mahela Jayawardene (43) had been the mainstays of Sri Lanka's innings, putting on 94 for the fourth wicket before Gautam Gambhir (91) and Dhoni added 70 for India's fifth wicket to steer them towards victory.
Sri Lanka fought back, however, and a brace of wickets apiece from Malinga and Tissera Perera set up the final showdown between Dhoni, Ranganath Vinay Kumar and Malinga.
India needed ten from seven balls and then nine from the final over which offered up one of the games best finishers with the bat - Dhoni - against one of the game's best death bowlers - Malinga.
Good running from Dhoni and Kumar brought the target down to four from two balls after Malinga missed the chance to run Dhoni out from the fourth ball of the over.
Kumar was then run out by Angelo Mathews for one from the next ball but he had done enough to get Dhoni back on strike. Malinga was then unable to deliver the perfect delivery, allowing Dhoni to squeeze the ball away and pick up enough runs to ensure the points were shared.
Man of the match Dhoni finished unbeaten on 58 in 69 balls, including three fours and a six having done much with Gambhir to get India to the brink of a win that leaves Sri Lanka with a huge struggle ahead if they are to qualify for the finals.
Gambhir played fluently, stroking 91 in 106 balls before he was run out by Nuwan Kulasekara, who had earlier struck to have Sachin Tendulkar caught behind for 15.
That same score was achieved by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma before they too fell and Suresh Raina made just eight. His dismissal brought Gambhir and Dhoni together and they patched the innings back up and put Sri Lanka back under pressure.
Gambhir's dismissal eased the pressure and they took a strong position by also removing Ravi Jadeja for thee. Ravichandran Ashwin then hit an important 14 in 13 balls and Irfan Pathan blasted a six on his way to eight in five to leave Dhoni with Kumar and half a chance of escaping without a defeat.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had also made an unsteady start to their innings, losing openers Upul Tharanga (0) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (16) cheaply.
Kumar Sangakkara made 31 before the stand between Chandimal and Jayawardene put them on course for a competitive sore.
Chandimal faced 91 balls, hitting six fours and a six on the way to his fifth ODI half-century while Jayawardene fell just short of another half-century.
Another telling partnership might have won Sri Lanka the game but they couldn't find one as India rallied to remove Mathews (17), Perera (5), Kulasekara (12) and Malinga (0) before they could do much damage.
Sachithra Senanayake hit three late boundaries in an innings of 22 in 14 balls - the importance of which perhaps only became apparent much later in the day.
Sri Lanka are back in action when they take on Australia in Sydney on Friday 17th February. India then meet the hosts two days later.
India can also validly claim to have been a little hard done by after Malinga was mistakenly allowed to bowl a five-ball over during the run-chase.
Perhaps that was the stroke of luck Sri Lanka needed after losing two close games previous to this in the series.
© Cricket World 2012
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