They have got a bonus point, but more importantly they have got the right morale boost ahead of the big game. Forget the trends from the past, Sri Lanka will go in as favourites. India's bowling looked ordinary today, and while Harbhajan will lift the standards considerably, there is enough cause for concern. India's collapse with the bat was bizarre, and even more worrying - this is the same batting line up that will play in the finals.
Shruti: "The first match of the series between SL and Pak match tried to successfully justify the existence of ODIs, however the rest of the matches in the series have more or less tried to kill any such notions...(except India-Pak I guess!)"
Time for the presentations.
Dhoni: "Well of course, we got off to a decent start.. 160 odd on the board with six wickets in hand, we were looking at 270 odd, but Maharoof came on and turned it around completely. We did not have much chance after that. We have done well so far, batsmen have got runs. Would have been nice to carry confidence into the final, but unfortunately that did not happen. Finals in a couple of days.. we have to work on the areas where we can improve."
Sangakkara: "Very happy with the fact that we won so well in the end. Kapugedera's run out (of Dhoni) turned it around, and then Maharoof's hat-trick, what can you say! We just tried a new combination today, and I'm very happy with the way they performed. We have got to do it again in the finals. This win gives us confidence, but the finals is a finals. We have to start from scratch. It was pretty good to chase under lights today.. probably easier to bat during the day.."
Maharoof is as expected the Man of the Match for his five-for inclusive of that hat-trick. "I've done really well through the series.. hard work has paid off - Dambulla has always been lucky to me. To be honest, I had not planned for the hat-trick. Just wanted to keep it in good areas and it worked. In Dambulla when you hit that line and length there is always something for the bowlers. Sangakkara took a marvellous catch to give me the hat-trick, really happy for the team."
On that happy note we will wrap up the coverage for this game. Do tune in for the finals in a couple of days. On behalf of Team Cricinfo, this is Nitin Sundar signing off. Cheers!
Sri Lanka have ripped India today. Yes tis was a second-string India side, but Sri Lanka were third-string to be honest. They rested four of their first-choice players, while India rested three from the squad currently in Dambulla. There too, it is up for debate if Ashish Nehra can be termed first-choice.
Jadeja the allrounder (within quotes) comes on.
Even by SL-India standards, this is a real drag now.