Virat Kohli had a rare failure and Ajinkya Rahane failed to cash in on a rare opportunity, but Gautam Gambhir made his third 50-plus score of the series to guide India in the final ODI against Sri Lanka. Rohit Sharma flopped for the fifth match in a row, to tally only 13 runs in the series - the lowest by a specialist India batsman in a five-match series - and gave his critics even more ammunition.
Rahane got his chance after a long spell on the bench as Virender Sehwag had a glute injury, but he lasted only five overs before being trapped lbw by an incutter from Thisara Perera. That brought in the in-form Kohli, who once again began confidently, and with the help of Gambhir helped India along to 77 for 1 in the 15th over. With Lasith Malinga blunted even in his second spell, India were cruising along before Kolhi missed an attempted flick off Nuwan Pradeep to be trapped lbw.
That brought in Rohit, a batsman under intense media scrutiny over his form in this series. He helped himself to a boundary when Pradeep fired in a half-volley on the pads, but that proved to be his only scoring stroke as three balls later Pradeep had one moving away, past the outside edge to bowl Rohit.
Gambhir was unperturbed by the wickets at the other end, once again managing to score at almost a run a ball without seeming to play any big hits. The footwork as usual was nimble, allowing him to place the ball for singles as he coasted to his half-century. The one moment of concern was in the 12th over when he was struck on the glove by a short ball from Malinga, needing some attention from the physio.
Keeping Gambhir company was Manoj Tiwary, looking to take over Rohit's spot in the middle order. Walking out in the 18th over, he had plenty of time to make his case, and had moved to a calm unbeaten 20 by the halfway stage of the innings.