Colombo, August 9:

Mehela Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya’s aggressive half-centuries spurred Sri Lanka to an 18-run victory against India in the final of the limited-overs tri-series. Opener Jayasuriya completed 10,000 runs in one-dayers during his attacking 67 and Jayawardene smashed the top score of 83 as Sri Lanka posted an imposing 281/9 from 50 overs. In reply, India could only muster 263/9 despite skipper Rahul Dravid’s composed 69 leading a strong chase that fell apart as it lost five wickets in the space of 25 runs. Jayawardene and Russel Arnold (64) put a brisk fifth-wicket partnership of 125 from 117 deliveries to put Sri Lanka in a formidable position despite a six-wicket burst from left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra (6 for 59). Jayasuriya smashed nine boundaries from 77 balls to lead Sri Lanka’s charge with his 58th half-century.

Jayasuriya and Jayawardene added 55 runs for the third wicket before Jayasuriya ran himself out going for the second run. He was beaten to the crease by Harbhajan Singh’s throw from the fine-leg boundary. Returning to the attack, Nehra had Jayawardene caught by Mohammad Kaif at short fine-leg and Arnold was run out by Sourav Ganguly’s direct hit at the non-striker’s

end.

India’s chase got off to a flying start, amassing 61 runs in the first six overs as opener Sehwag slammed one six and nine boundaries in his 22-ball 48. Sehwag blasted fast bowler Lokuhettige for 26 runs in his first over, smashing the six deliveries for five boundaries and a six. Ganguly then put on 42 runs for the second wicket with Dravid, who along with Yuvraj Singh (42) put together a third-wicket stand of 84 and India was cruising at 186/2, but its title hopes perished as Yuvraj Singh top-edged a sweep shot against Upul Chandana to be caught by Lokuhettige on the fence.