Dominant India storm past Sri Lanka and seal series
Openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul scored fifties in India’s solid first-innings total of 201/6, before the bowlers put on another impressive show to complete a thumping 78-run win in the third T20I against Sri Lanka in Pune on Friday, 10 January.
Shikhar Dhawan reiterated his case in India’s T20I setup, registering his first fifty in the format in 14 months – his 10th overall – to combine with Rahul for a steady 97-run opening stand after the hosts were put in to bat. That, however, was punctuated with a slice of good fortune early on, with Dhawan being given a reprieve by Dasun Shanaka, who dropped one at deep square leg when the left-hander was on one.
India from 97/0 to 122/4
His 36-ball stay included seven hits to the fence and one over it, with Rahul (52) providing great support hitting two fours lesser. Lakshan Sandakan, the left-arm wrist-spinner, struck in his second over to dismiss Dhawan. Sanju Samson, playing his first international game since July 2015, walked in at No. 3 and sent his first ball soaring over long off for a six. He couldn’t carry on much longer however, as Wanindu Hasaranga dismissed him in the next ball he faced. Sandakan then removed Rahul and Shreyas Iyer in quick succession to reduce India from 97/0 to 122/4 in a space of two overs.
Skipper Virat Kohli walked in at the four-down position, and scored a steady 26 but an error in judgement resulted in him being run-out. Manish Pandey (31 not out) and Shardul Thakur (22 not out) unleashed some lusty blows in the final two overs, wherein they scored 34 to power India to 201/6 at the end of the 20th over.
Sri Lanka had a terrible start to the chase, losing openers Danushka Gunathalika (1) and Avishka Fernando (9) within the first two overs. A terrible mix-up resulted in Oshada Fernando’s run out while Kusal Perera was castled by a searing Navdeep Saini yorker to leave the visitors reeling at 26/4 in the sixth over.
A quick 68-run stand between Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva revived some hope, but that ended after the former mistimed one towards long on off Washington Sundar on 31, to give India the opening.
Sri Lanka collapsed from 94/4 to 123 all-out, with de Silva waging the lone battle with a 36-ball 57. Saini picked up three wickets while Sundar and Thakur bagged two apiece.
India took the series 2-0 with back to back wins, after the series opener in Guwahati was abandoned without a ball being bowled.