Upul Tharanga plundered the highest individual score in a one-day international in the Caribbean as Sri Lanka steamrollered India by 161 runs in the third match of the tri-nations series at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, on Tuesday.
Replying to Sri Lanka’s mammoth 348-1 in their 50 overs, in which Tharanga made an unbeaten 174 and Mahela Jayawardene 107, World Cup and Champions Trophy holders India were dismissed for just 187 in the 45th over.
“It was a bad day at the office,” stand-in India captain Virat Kohli said. “We took some time to switch on in the field and by then the Sri Lankans were off and away, and even when we batted I don’t think we applied ourselves as well as we should have.”
India looked a pale shadow of the side that had gone unbeaten in lifting the Champions Trophy in England just over a week earlier. The dismissal of Kohli, standing in for the injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni, hooking his Sri Lanka counterpart Angelo Mathews to long-leg, virtually ended the match as a contest as India fell to 57-3 in the 16th over.
Earlier, Jayawardene played a typically classy innings in compiling his first one-day international century for two years and his 16th in all in a 213-run opening stand in which he outscored Tharanga.
However, ultimately it was Tharanga’s day as he timed the ball sweetly and caned the lackluster India bowling to all parts of the ground with dismissive authority. He brought up his 13th one-day international century off 124 deliveries, with 11 fours, and finished with 19 fours and three sixes in his 174 off just 159 balls.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews promoted himself to No. 3 to join the run feast, and raced to 44 off 29 balls as he and Tharanga plundered an unbroken 135 off the final 11.2 overs.
“We really needed this,” said Mathews, who acknowledged that his team was under pressure to get a good result after being beaten comfortably by the West Indies in the tournament opener on Friday last week. “Hats off to Mahela and Upul, who really set this up for us and allowed the bowlers to complete the job.”
A disciplined Sri Lanka bowling attack never allowed India a chance to threaten the daunting target.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was the most successful bowler with three for 37, while Sachithra Senanayake and Lasith Malinga claimed two apiece.
Mathews proved the most economical. Sharing the new ball, he conceded only 23 runs off his eight overs, picking up the key wicket of Kohli.
India, bottom of the standings after losing their opening two matches, now need to lift themselves immediately for the second half of the tournament in Trinidad.
They face a rematch against a buoyant West Indies at the Queen’s Park Oval tomorrow.