Athapaththu's ton helped Sri Lanka to win the match. ©ICC

After having lost the first two encounters, Sri Lanka bounced back in the third match of the three ODI series against India at Katunayake. With this nail-biting win, Sri Lanka grabbed two valuable points and opened their account in the ICC Women’s Championship (2017-20).

Both the teams made changes to their playing eleven. Hasini Perera, Imalka Mendis, and Kavisha Dilhari were in the playing XI, in place of Prasadani Weerakkody, Nipuni Hansika and Sugandika Kumari for Sri Lanka, which turned out to be a great decision, as both Hasini Perera and Kavisha Dilhari played match-winning performances.

For India, Jhulan Goswami came in the place of Shikha Pandey. They made changes to the opening pair too, Jemimah Rodrigues got the chance in place of Punam Raut who was struggling to score in the first two matches. Ekta Bisht came in place of Rajeshwari Gayakwad.

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field first. With the strong batting side, India were looking forward to posting a huge total on board. Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues started the innings for India but Udeshika Prabodhini handed Sri Lanka the first breakthrough in the very first over, by taking the wicket of Rodrigues, who got trapped by LBW.

After that, skipper Mithali Raj started building a partnership with Smriti Mandhana. Their 102 runs partnership came off 132 balls. Mandhana scored a quickfire 51 off 62 before getting dismissed by Ranaweera’s brilliant catch at mid-on from Athapaththu’s delivery.

After Mandhana’s dismissal, vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur joined her captain at the crease. Both added 45 runs before Kaur got out. Siriwardene took an easy catch at short mid wicket region from Kavisha Dilhari’s delivery and sent Kaur to the pavilion at 17. Hemalatha Dayalan too didn’t trouble Sri Lanka bowlers’ and followed Kaur soon, having scored just 6 off 6 balls.

It was the captain Mithali Raj, who stood strong at the other end and made another partnership with Deepti Sharma. They both added 92 runs at the 5th wicket before the later one got dismissed by the quick gloves work by Anushka Sanjeewani from Siriwardene’s delivery when 2 balls were left to end the innings. Jhulan Goswami joined her captain to face the last 2 balls. She opened her account with a six at deep- mid wicket and ended up scoring 7 runs off 2 balls.

Captain Mithali Raj led the team from the front, scoring her 7th ODI century and finished an unbeaten 125 off 143 with 14 fours and a six; which eventually became her highest ODI score. The previous one was 114* which she scored on her debut on 26th June 1999 against Ireland. Her 102 runs partnership with Mandhana and 88 runs partnership with Sharma helped India to score 253 on board after the end of 50 overs.

Udeshika Prabodhani, Nilakshi de Silva, Shashikala Siriwardene, Chamari Athapaththu and Kavisha Dilhari picked up one wicket each for Sri Lanka.

In reply, Sri Lanka started off brilliantly. Openers Athapaththu and Hasini Perera constructed the innings very well. They both added 101 runs partnership before Poonam Yadav broke that by taking Perera’s wicket. Harmanpreet Kaur took the catch at point region and India got their first breakthrough in the 24th over. Perera was out of the playing XI in the first two ODIs but got the chance to play in the third one. She utilised the chance and supported her captain very well by scoring 45 off 70 with 4 fours and 2 sixes.

After her dismissal, Anushka Sanjeewani came to the crease and scored 22 of 31. She missed the line and got bowled by Goswami’s delivery in the 36th over. Athapaththu survived a run out at the non-striker’s end after hitting Ekta Bisht’s delivery to Raj at mid-on region. Chamari Athapaththu scored her fourth ODI century and made the way easy for her team to win. After having scored a well-made 115 off 133 with 13 fours and 4 sixes, she was dismissed by giving a catch to Mansi Joshi at long on from Hemalatha’s delivery in the 42nd over.

The next four wickets fell in a quick succession as Indian bowlers started picking up wickets in regular intervals. Ekta Bisht took Imalka Mendis’s catch at backward point in the 43rd over by Goswami’s delivery while de Silva was caught by Harmanpreet Kaur at the mid-on region. Soon Siriwardene too was dismissed in the same way and Manodara got dismissed by a direct through.

Kavisha Dilhari, who was playing her 2nd ODI came to her team’s rescue. She played a scoop shot over the wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia’s head at the 49th over which brought back the hope of her team’s win. Deepti Sharma was handed over the ball in the last over while 6 off 6 were needed. Dilhari kept her nerves and did the job for her team. She finished the match in style and hit Deepti Sharma for a boundary at the long-off region. Along with her 12 off 7, Sripali Weerakkody’s 14 off 14 helped Sri Lanka to win over India with one ball to spare and broke India’s 10-match winning streak against them.

Poor fielding and a couple of missed opportunities shut India’s dream of a series whitewash. For India, Jhulan Goswami and Mansi Joshi scalped 2 wickets each, while Poonam Yadav and Dayalan Hemalatha bagged one wicket each.

Both teams will now play a five-match T20 series which begins from September 19.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 257/7 (C Athapaththu 115, J Goswami 2/39) beat India (M Raj 125*, U Prabodhani 1/20) by 3 wickets.