India, however, clinched the three-match series 2-1 as they had won the first two games.
Opting to bat, India was bundled out for a meagre 225 with Sri Lankan spinners Akila Dananjaya (3/44) and Praveen Jayawickrama (3/59) wreaking havoc in the middle overs.
Sri Lanka rode on opener Avishka Fernando‘s patient 76 to overhaul the target with eight overs to spare.
“Things didn’t go our way after rain break. We had a good start but lost too many wickets in the middle overs. Think we were 50 runs short,” Dhawan said at the post-match presentation.
The rain break at the end of the 23rd over, which reduced the game to 47 overs per side, helped the home team. The pitch suddenly had a bit of freshness and the ball would both grip and skid, making life easier for the Sri Lankan spinners, who rocked the middle-order.
Despite the loss, Dhawan said he was happy the way his players fought till the end.
3rd ODI: Sri Lanka avoid whitewash against India
“We were positive about defending the target but at the same time we knew we were 50 runs short. I am happy of the way the boys fought,” he said.
“I always analyse where I can improve and get better.”
India played five debutants in the game, the only second such instance in their ODI history.
“I am glad that they made their debut because everyone has been in the quarantine for a long time,” Dhawan said.
“So we had that opportunity today having sealed the series.”
Player of the Series Suryakumar Yadav said he has been doing the same thing for last two years.
“I wanted to score big in the last two games but … The atmosphere in the camp is really positive. Really looking forwards to the T20I series.”
Sri Lanka captain said his team was happy to win an ODI on home soil after nine long years.
“Congratulation to India for the series win. It was a very good series throughout. Young guys showed a lot of maturity, both with bat and ball and that’s what I expect from them,” he said.
“It’s a big win for fans, they were waiting for years for this win; we have won against India at home after quite some time.”
The three-match T20 International series will start from Sunday at the same venue.