Shikhar Dhawan struck a sublime hundred in the nick of time as India delivered yet again in a series decider to beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the third ODI and record their eighth successive win in a bilateral contest. India raced to the 216-run target in 32.1 overs with Dhawan (100 not out off 85 balls) completing his 12th ODI ton in what turned out to be the penultimate over of the match.
With the professional performance tonight, India won their sixth ODI series of the year and eighth in a row since July 2016. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were consigned to yet another defeat in a rather miserable year in which they have won only five matches. The hundred was there for the taking and Dhawan grabbed the opportunity with both hands. During the course of his match-winning knock, Dhawan crossed the 4,000-run barrier in his 96th ODI. He hit 13 boundaries and two sixes overall as he toyed with the Sri Lankan attack.
Shreyas Iyer made a significant 65 off 63 balls, his second successive half century, but missed on the opportunity of scoring a hundred in a winning cause. Dinesh Karthik remained unbeaten on 26 alongside Dhawan and hit the winning runs. Iyer reached his second ODI fifty in 44 balls before throwing his wicket away by attempting a big shot off Thisara Perara only to sky a catch to Suranga Lakmal at mid-on. The Mumbai batsman survived two dropped chances, when on 25 and 38. In the first instance, Angelo Matthews grassed a catch at slip off Sachith Pathirana's first delivery and the second life came when Akila Dhananjaya couldn't hold on to a tough chance at the deep third man when on 38.
Sri Lanka suffered a dramatic collapse undoing the good work done by opener Upul Tharanga. Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal shared three wickets each for India as Sri Lanka squandered a blistering start provided by Tharanga (95 off 82). The wicket offered decent turn for the spinners but the visitors failed to apply themselves, losing the last five wickets in the space of 18 runs and the last eight for 55 runs.
Put in to bat by India captain Rohit Sharma, Sri Lanka were cruising with Tharanga and Sadeera Samarawickrama (42) sharing a 121-run stand for the second wicket after Danushka Gunathilaka (13) fell in the fourth over. Tharanga played some superb shots and was not afraid to hit aerial. The southpaw hit all his three sixes off Chahal, who otherwise was the best bowler on the show with his drift and turn troubling the batsmen. The opener, who missed out on a well-deserved ton, completed 1,000 runs for the calendar year during the course of the knock. Thereafter, it all went downhill for Sri Lanka.