ADELAIDE  - India and Sri Lanka finished in a sensational tie in their tri one-day series international at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday. India skipper M.S. Dhoni needed to hit four off the last ball by Lasith Malinga but he was denied and the Indian players scampered through for three runs to level the scores.

Both teams finished with 236 for nine from their 50 overs in a dramatic finale after India needed nine runs to win off the final over. Dhoni, who steered India to a final-over victory against Australia at the same ground last Sunday, threatened to repeat that success but was thwarted as the Sri Lankans searched desperately for their first win of the tri-series.

The tie lifted India to the top of the tournament standings ahead of Australia, with Sri Lanka yet to win from their three games. Dhoni finished unbeaten on 58 off 69 balls with one booming six and three fours, while opening batsman Gautam Gambhir was out in the 90s for a second consecutive innings after he was run out for 91. India looked poised to nudge past the plucky Sri Lankans in the final over but Ranganath Vinay Kumar was run out on the second-last ball by a direct throw at the non-striker's end. Dhoni then faced a final ball shot for a winning boundary only for Sachithra Senanayake to cut off the ball and enable India enough time to take three and level the scores.

It was the first ever tie between India and Sri Lanka in one-dayers. Once again star India batsman Sachin Tendulkar failed to score his 100th international century and was dismissed for 15. Earlier, Dinesh Chandimal topscored with 81 as Sri Lanka reached 236 for nine off 50 overs. Chandimal, 22, hit six fours and a six off 91 balls before he was run out and Sri Lanka, who won the toss, set India just over 4.7 runs an over to win.

     scoreboard

SRI LANKA:

U Tharanga c Dhoni b Vinay    0

T Dilshan c Dhoni b Pathan    16

K Sangakkara c Gambhir b Ashwin    31

D Chandimal run out    81

M Jayawardene lbw b Vinay    43

A Mathews run out    17

T Perera c Kohli b Ashwin    5

N Kulasekara c Gambhir b Vinay    12

S Senanayake not out    22

L Malinga run out    0

R Herath not out    1

EXTRAS: (lb3, w5)    8

TOTAL: (9 wkts; 50 overs)    236

FOW: 1-0, 2-28, 3-79, 4-173, 5-178, 6-184, 7-210, 8-232, 9-235

BOWLING: Vinay Kumar 10-1-46-3, Pathan 9-0-38-1, Yadav 9-0-51-0, Ashwin 10-1-30-2, Jadeja 10-0-58-0, Sharma 2-0-10-0

INDIA:

G Gambhir run out    91

Sachin c Sangakkara b Kulasekara    15

V Kohli lbw b Perera    15

R Sharma run out    15

S Raina c Sangakkara b Malinga    8

MS Dhoni not out    58

R Jadeja c Jayawardene b Perera    3

R Ashwin c Senanayake b Malinga    14

I Pathan run out    8

R Vinay Kumar run out    1

U Yadav not out    0

EXTRAS: (lb1, w6, nb1)    8

TOTAL: (9 wkts; 50 overs)    236

FOW: 1-24, 2-61, 3-94, 4-118, 5-178, 6-184, 7-212, 8-223, 9-233

BOWLING: Malinga 10-1-53-2, Kulasekara 10-0-39-1, Mathews 5-0-35-0, Perera 9-0-45-2, Herath 10-1-33-0, Senanayake 6-0-30-0

Man-of-the-match: MS Dhoni (IND)

Toss: Sri Lanka

Umpires: Simon Fry (AUS) and Nigel Llong (ENG)

TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)