It was bitter deja for Sri Lanka as captain MS Dhoni almost single-handedly denied them the Tri-Nations Cup with an innings of stunning calmness and aggression on Thursday.
A series of implosions on either side all came down to Dhoni, arguably the best finished in the modern game, facing Shaminda Eranga final over of the match with India needing 15 runs to win. Eranga had bowled superbly throughout the game and Lanka were just 1 wicket away from what would have been a hard-earned title.
But the nerveless Dhoni, who missed the earlier matches due to a hamstring injury, had other plans. And all they took were three deliveries a monster hit that clatter onto the roof, a slash over point for 4, and another savage hit over extra-cover for six. Indian team captain cool had finished it again with an unbeaten 45 in acute crisis; guide his team to win after they had lost 6 wickets for 43 runs during a disturbing phase of play.
India 1-wicket win was only the second occasion of this slender margin of win in an ODI competition final involving 3 or more teams. The previous occasion was in Pakistan famous verdict over India at Sharjah - the site of Javed Miandad famous last-ball six off Chetan Sharma.
Sri Lanka had earlier suffered from an astonishing collapse of their own as they lost eight wickets for just 30 runs to be bundled out for 201. On a pitch that had a little something for bowlers of all types, only Sangakkara (71) and Thirimanne (46) stood out with the bat.
Expectedly it was swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar early strikes that got things moving for India. The youngster saw off the backs of openers Upul Tharanga and Jayawardene. The former done in on the inside edge for MS Dhoni to take a smart catch down the legside; Jayawardene, in his 400th ODI, brain-freezing into slashing a wide delivery to slip.
The men in form, Sangakkara and Thirimanne, brought in an impression of control through a 122-run alliance for the 3rd wicket. Their time, however, was helped in no little measure by an untidy India in the field.
Sri Lanka: 201/10 (48.5)
L Thirimanne -46(72)
R Jadeja-4/23(7.5 overs)
India: 203/9 (49.4)
R Sharma -58(89)
Player of the match
Player of the series