Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag cracked blistering centuries as a ruthless India clinched the five-match cricket series against Sri Lanka by spanking the hosts by 147 runs in the third ODI in Colombo on Tuesday night.
Electing to bat first, India rode on a 221-run stand for the third wicket between Sehwag (116) and Yuvraj (117) to amass 363 for five, their highest score in Sri Lanka.
Chasing the mammoth total, Sri Lanka folded for 216 in 41.4 overs, despite Kumar Sangakkara's defiant 83 off 82 balls. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha did the maximum damage to Sri Lanka, claiming four for 38.
India thus took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series and both the teams will square off again here on Thursday for the fourth match.
The capacity crowd at the R Premadasa Stadium found the only solace when off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan removed Yuvraj to equal Wasim Akram's world record tally of 502 ODI scalps.
This was India's highest total on Sri Lankan soil, eclipsing the previous best of 307 for 6 in 1998 at the same venue.
Chasing such a huge total, Sri Lanka badly needed a big knock from Sanath Jayasuriya but the veteran opener let the side down today.
Jayasuriya dragged the first ball he faced, from Praveen Kumar, onto his stumps and that was clearly a bad omen for the hosts.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (30 off 26 balls) sizzled for a while in Sangakkara's company before an inside edge off Zaheer Khan upset his timbers.
Like Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene (30) also got the start but with the run rate mounting, the Lankan captain had no other options but to try something different.
He came dancing down the track to hit Praveen out of the park only to find Sehwag at mid-off.
Sehwag then removed Thilina Kandamby (10) and, in the next over, Pragyan Ojha cleaned up Chamara Kapugedera (2) to tighten the noose around the hosts.
Sangakkara did try his best but by then, it was too late and the Lankan tail simply didn't had it in them to accomplish such a herculean task.
Earlier, Sehwag and Yuvraj set the R Premadasa stadium ablaze with scintillating strokeplay. The duo stitched a record 221 runs for the third wicket to guide the visitors to an imposing total from where they can push for a series-clinching victory.
Yousuf Pathan (59 not out) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (35 not out) were the other notable contributors for the visitors, who left Sri Lanka with a stiff asking rate 7.26 runs per over for a victory.
The twin centuries also broke a jinx, as no Indian batsman had hit an ODI century on Sri Lankan soil in the last ten years.
The Indians, leading the five-match series 2-0, had a rather disappointing start to the innings when Sachin Tendulkar was handed a dubious leg before wicket decision for the third successive time.
But as a disappointed Tendulkar sat in the pavilion, Sehwag and Yuvraj brought the smiles back in the dressing room with an audacious exhibition of strokes that put the islanders completely on the backfoot.
Yuvraj's 95-ball 117 contained as many as 17 boundaries and a six while Sehwag was equally ruthless in his 90-ball 116, which was studded with 17 boundaries.
Yusuf Pathan and Dhoni then provided the late sparks to the innings by using the long handle to devastating effect in the slog overs.
The islanders appeared totally clueless and the erratic performance of the bowlers and some shoddy fielding compounded their misery in the crucial match which they need to win to stay afloat in the series.
The Indian innings got off to a disastrous start with Sachin Tendulkar being a victim of a dubious umpiring decision for third time in a row.
The star batsman had been adjudged leg before wicket in the first two matches and a similar fate awaited him today when Sri Lanka umpire Gamini Silva ruled him LBW when the ball clearly seemed to go down the leg side by a huge margin.
The visitors suffered another jolt soon after with the in-form Gautam Gambhir being tragically run out for 10, leaving India tottering at 24 for two.
Gambhir was dropped by Thilina Kandamby when he was yet to open his account but it was simply not his day as he perished soon after when Dilhara Fernando deflected Sehwag's straight drive to the wicket at the non-striker's end with the left hander out of the crease.
But the complexion of the game changed dramatically after Yuvraj Singh joined forces with Sehwag as the duo launched a savage assault on the Lankan bowlers.
Initially, it was Yuvraj who was the more aggressive of the two batsmen while Sehwag was quite content giving him the strike.
The dashing Sehwag then stepped on the pedal and the runs started coming in torrents with the clueless home team bowlers being plundered for runs at will.
The two batsmen maintained a brisk scoring rate of over seven runs per over right through their partnership, giving a torrid time to rival skipper Mahela Jayawardene.
The Sri Lankan bowlers were a pale shadow of themselves as they bowled a poor line and length, making things easy for the Indian batsmen who found the boundaries easy to come by.
While the pacemen strayed down the leg side and conceded a lot of runs, the two spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis also failed to contain the run flow.
Sehwag got a reprieve when he was on 73 with Sanath Jayasuriya dropping a simple return catch. The lapse proved costly as the Delhi opener stepped up the pace of scoring from then on.
Both Yuvraj and Sehwag unleashed a barrage of strokes to take India beyond the 200 mark in quick time.
Yuvraj took a single off Maharoof to notch up his 11th ODI century, becoming in the process the first Indian batsman to score a century in Sri Lanka in the last ten years.
Yuvraj's belligerence came to an end when he was caught by Jayawardene off Muralitharan, a dismissal that helped him equal Pakistani legend Wasim Akram's world record tally of 502 one-day scalps.
Sehwag soon joined him in the pavilion being run-out off a direct hit from Jayasuriya.