HYDERABAD - A batting Powerplay that cost Sri Lanka three wickets for 16 runs sucked the oxygen out of an already imperiled innings, and set the visitors on course for a third hiding on the trot.

The seven-wicket loss at Hyderabad surrenders the series to India, who have not only been untested in the three matches so far, but have also discovered potential gems from among their second-string players. Akshar Patel is perhaps chief among them, removing three batsmen through the middle overs, while Umesh Yadav struck at either end of the innings to earn a career-best haul of 4 for 53.

Sri Lanka at least had one batsman make triple figures during their innings of 242, but Mahela Jayawardene took little visible joy in his effortless 118 off 124, as a string of teammates abandoned him during the middle overs. He became the fifth batsman to 12000 career runs during the knock, before Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli hit half-centuries to notch career milestones of their own, in India's innings. Kohli became the fastest batsmen to 6000 ODI runs in his 135th innings, while Dhawan became the quickest India batsman to 2000 runs in his 47th knock.

It had been Akshar, however, who made the most telling play of the game, taking a wicket in each of his three Powerplay overs to gut the visitors' middle order. As has been the case throughout the series, it was his fluctuations in pace that vexed Sri Lanka.

Angelo Mathews had appeared settled when the Powerplay was called for in the 31st over. He had reverse-swept R Ashwin powerfully for four a few balls before, but was slow on the pull as Akshar skidded one through. The top-edge looped to cover.

Akshar's flat, fast deliveries in the next over kept Ashan Priyanjan scoreless for four balls, before the mistake was induced. The batsman aimed a heave over mid-on, but managed only to hit it to Yadav, who took a diving catch. Chaturanga de Silva, playing this match instead of Suraj Randiv, attempted to carve Akshar over cover in the final over of the Powerplay. When he found the fielder, Sri Lanka had slipped from 144 for 3 to 154 for 6. Thisara Perera's wicket two overs later, embedded them in further strife.

A middle-order collapse of four wickets for 14 runs, required the mastery of Jayawardene to put the visitors in a position from which they have a chance to keep the series alive. Jayawardene hit 12 fours and a six and faced 124 balls in his rescue act. The tour now moves to Kolkata for the fourth match on Thursday. The final encounter will be in Ranchi in a week's time.

Scoreboard

SRI LANKA:

K Perera c Saha b U Yadav    4

T Dilshan c Rahane b Rayudu    53

K Sangakkara c Ashwin b U Yadav    0

M Jayawardene st Saha b Ashwin    118

A Mathews c Kohli b A. Patel    10

A Priyanjan c U Yadav b A Patel    2

C de Silva c Dhawan b A Patel    2

T Perera c sub b U Yadav    1

S Prasanna b U Yadav    29

N Kulasekara c Rahane b Kulkarni    7

L Gamage not out    0

EXTRAS: (lb3, nb2, w11)    16

TOTAL: (all out, 48.2 overs)    242

FOW: 1-5,2-7,3-112,4-144,5-148,6-154,7-158,8-225,9-238,10-242

BOWLING: U Yadav 9-0-53-4, D Kulkarni 9.2-0-58-1, I Sharma 4-1-14-0, A Patel 10-1-40-3, R Ashwin 10-0-43-1, S Raina 3-0-15-0, A Rayudu 3-0-16-1

INDIA:

A Rahane c Jayawardene b T Perera    31

S Dhawan c Sangakkara b Kulasekara    91

A Rayudu run out    35

V Kohli c Gamage b Dilshan    53

S Raina not out    18

W Saha not out    6

EXTRAS: (lb2, w8, nb1)    11

TOTAL: (4 wkts; 44.1 overs)    245

FOW: 1-62, 2-131, 3-201, 4-236

BOWLING: Kulasekara 8-0-37-1, L Gamage 6-0-50-0, S Prasanna 9-0-43-0, T Perera 7-0-33-1, C de Silva 5-0-45-0, A Mathews 3-0-17-0, T Dilshan 4-0-10-1, A Priyanjan 2.1-1-8-0

TOSS: Sri Lanka

UMPIRE: Vineet Kulkarni, Bruce Oxenford

TV UMPIRE: Anil Chaudhary

MATCH REFEREE: David Boon