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Images: India vs Sri Lanka, Tri-series Final

Last updated on: September 15, 2009 

Image: Sachin Tendulkar (right) and Rahul Dravid run between the wickets
Photographs: Reuters

India sent in their two most experienced batsmen to open the innings -- Rahul Dravid (336 ODIs) and Sachin Tendulkar (428 ODIs) -- with the obvious intent of giving them more overs to settle in and play big knocks.

Dravid started confidently with a cracking boundary through point off the second ball of the innings. Tendulkar struck his first boundary a few overs later when he creamed a slower delivery from Nuwan Kulasekara through the covers to take India to 19 for no loss after five overs.

The first 15 overs went according to script for the Indians as they reached 76 no loss. The two senior batsmen realised the need for rotating the strike and scored 22 singles, six twos to go along with eight boundaries while conceding only 51 dot balls.

India went on to win the final by 46 runs. Tendulkar, who scored a superb 138, was named man of the match and series.

Tendulkar takes control

Image: Sachin Tendulkar

The first 15 overs went according to script for the Indians as they reached 76 no loss.

Tendulkar raced to his half-century, his 92nd in ODIs off just 47 deliveries, in the 16th over. It was his sixth half-century at the R Premadasa stadium, where he has now scored more than 1000 runs in 27 matches.

Tendulkar's 44th century in ODIs

Image: Sachin Tendulkar

It was smooth going for Tendulkar in the nineties and he duly promptly completed his 44th century in ODIs with a single on the off-side in the 33rd over, bowled by Mendis.

He took just 92 deliveries to reach the landmark, hitting eight boundaries. It was his eighth century against Sri Lanka and fourth at the venue.

Yuvraj flays Lankan bowlers

Image: Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh struggled to get going at the start of his innings before he unleashed a huge six over wide long-on in the 42nd over by Thushara.

The left-hander then grew in confidence and provided the necessary impetus for India with a string of boundaries in the final few overs. He completed his half-century in the final over off just 39 deliveries and finished unbeaten on 56 from 51 deliveries, inclusive of six boundaries and a six, to help India post a mammoth 319 for five in their 50 overs.

Dilshan gets Sri Lanka off to a flier

Image: Tillakaratne Dilshan hits out

The target was tough but Sri Lanka looked game for a fight with Dilshan going after Ishant Sharma.

Dilshan greeted Ishant with back-to-back boundaries in his first over and then went on a rampage.

His trademark scoop over the wicketkeeper was not far behind either as Dilshan executed the shot against his bemused Delhi Daredevils team-mate Ashish Nehra.

Harbhajan double blow cripples Lanka

Image: Harbhajan Singh celebrates

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was forced to introduce Harbhajan Singh early into the attack and his most senior bowler responded to his captain's call of duty with wickets in his first two overs.

Dilshan tried to cut the off-spinner through the off-side, having hit the previous ball for a boundary, but this time the ball was a bit quicker and ended up crashing into his stumps.

However, Dilshan had provided Sri Lanka the perfect start as he smashed 42 from 29 deliveries, inclusive of nine boundaries, adding 64 runs for the first wicket in 47 deliveries.

Harbhajan then bagged another important wicket in his next over when he deceived Mahela Jayawardene with the doosra and had him caught and bowled for 1.

Pathan scalps Jayasuriya

Image: Yusuf Pathan celebrates with team-mates

Sanath Jayasuriya didn't let India take the initiative despite those two wickets, as he continued attacking. Once again Dhoni did the trick with an inspired bowling change as Yusuf Pathan claimed the wicket of Jayasuriya in his first over.

The veteran left-hander top edged Pathan as he tried to play one on the leg side and was taken by Nehra at mid-on for 36 from 29 deliveries, inclusive of seven boundaries.

The introduction of spinners had helped India wage a fightback after Sri Lanka's blazing start; the hosts lost three wickets for 21 runs in the space of 19 deliveries.

Sangakkara hits own wickets

Image: Kumar Sangakkara

Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara, on 28, got a reprieve when his counterpart, Dhoni, missed an easy stumping after the left-hander was beaten by Suresh Raina's off-spin in 25th over.

The batsman didn't make full use of that missed opportunity and fell for 33, dismissed hit-wicket off RP Singh. The Sri Lanka captain looked like steadily taking his team towards India's total after adding 51 runs in 60 overs for the sixth wicket with Thilina Kandamby before the bat slipped out of his sweaty gloves and ended up on the stumps.

High five for Harbhajan

Image: Thilina Kandamby is bowled by Harbhajan Singh

Thilina Kandamby gave himself room and tried to play the cut shot through point but missed completely and was bowled for a good knock of 66 from 94 deliveries.

Lasith Malinga was deceived by the doosra and his leading edge went straight back to Harbhajan, who accepted it with delight.

The off-spinner then completed his five-wicket haul when Mendis was stumped for 7 in the 47th over. Sri Lanka were dismissed for 273 in 46.4 overs and lost by 46 runs.

We don't want to make mistakes: Dhoni

Image: Team India celebrate triumph

Despite the triumph, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the team would have to learn from their mistakes to remain at the top.

India's bowling and fielding left much to be desired with the seamers erring in their line and length and the fielders spilling catches and missing run out chances.

"We made a number of mistakes in the field and did not field well as a team. It's thanks to some characters in the side that we won the match," Dhoni said after the match.

"As the number two team in the world, we don't want to make mistakes and repeat them. Hopefully, boys are learning from it and realising that we have to be at our best," he said.

The Indian team dedicated their victory to former BCCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur, who passed away last week.