Pallekele: Rohit Sharma once again showed his class in the limited overs format with a stylish unbeaten 124 as India took an unassailable 3-0 lead with a six-wicket victory in the third ODI, which was marred by unruly crowd behaviour.
Sensing another meek surrender from the home team, the crowd went berserk as they started throwing water bottles at the end of the 44th over, forcing a 35-minute stoppage.
Rohit was assisted by former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (67 no), who again played the second fiddle to perfection in an unbroken 157-run stand with India reaching the victory target of 218 in 45.1 overs.
It was the seventh successive bilateral series victory against Sri Lanka. India last lost a ODI series to island nation in 1997.
India’s batting depth came to the fore for the second successive time after form-man Shikhar Dhawan (5), skipper Virat Kohli (3), KL Rahul (17) and Kedar Jadhav (0) were back in the pavilion.
However, Rohit did not gift his wicket away like the previous ODI as he played an innings contrary to his attacking nature of batsmanship. He faced 145 balls, hitting 16 boundaries and two huge sixes.
Dhoni’s 65th ODI half-century effort saw him face 86 balls, hitting four boundaries and a six off left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana.
For Rohit, who hit his 12th ODI hundred, it was business as usual despite wickets falling at the other end. He peppered the off-side field with regularity hitting some lovely drives and cuts. When V. Fernando dug one short, he was in a perfect position to hook it for a six.
Dhoni as usual run his singles well, giving Rohit bulk of the strike and bringing in the necessary calm that is always expected of him.
While Akila Dananjaya (2/38 in 10 overs) again had an impressive outing, the Indian pair decided to not take any undue risks against the mystery spinner.
Rohit on his part was decided to step out and disturb the length of the spinners, something that Rahul and Jadhav did not do during their brief stay at the wicket.
Sri Lanka will now have to win their last two games in order to remain in contention for an automatic qualification.
Earlier, pacer Jasprit Bumrah took his maiden five-wicket haul, enabling India restrict a struggling Sri Lanka to 217 for nine after Kohli lost the toss for the first time. Bumrah was brilliant both upfront and in the death overs to end with figures of five for 27.
Sri Lanka, trailing 0-2 in the series, once again put up an ordinary show with the bat, barring a gritty 80 off 105 balls from Lahiru Thirimanne.
Sri Lanka: N. Dickwella lbw b Bumrah 13 (15), D. Chandimal c Bumrah b Pandya 36 (71), K. Mendis c Sharma b Bumrah 1 (10), L. Thirimanne c Jadhav b Bumrah 80 (105), A. Mathews lbw b Jadhav 11 (23), C. Kapugedera (c) b Patel 14 (22), M. Siriwardana b Bumrah 29 (27), A. Dananjaya b Bumrah 2 (6), D. Chameera run out (Dhoni/Kumar) 6 (10), V. Fernando not out 5 (6), L. Malinga not out 1.
Extras: 19 (b-4, lb-7, w-8).
Total- 217/9 (50 overs).
Bowling: B. Kumar 9-2-41-0, J. Bumrah 10-2-27-5, Y. Chahal 10-0-49-0, H. Pandya 8-0-42-1, A. Patel 10-1-35-1, K. Jadhav 3-0-12-1.
FoW: 1-18, 2-28, 3-100, 4-138, 5-159, 6-181, 7-191, 8-201, 9-210.
India: R. Sharma not out 124, S. Dhawan b Malinga 5, V. Kohli (c) c Chameera b Fernando 3, K.L. Rahul c Thirimanne b Dananjaya 17, K.M. Jadhav lbw b Dananjaya 0, M.S. Dhoni (not out) 67. Extras 2 (lb-1, w-1). Total: (in 45.1 Overs for four wickets) 218.
FoW: 1-9, 2-19, 3-61, 4-61.
Bowling: L. Malinga 5-0-25-1, V. Fernando 8.1-2-35-1, D. Chameera 10-1-59-0, A. Mathews 3-0-17-0, A. Dananjaya 10-0-38-2, M. Siriwardana 9-0-43-0.