India roll in Sri Lanka to seal series

Sri Lanka won moments, India won the game. The hosts clinched it by seven wickets with 17 balls remaining to annex the T20I series. Victory in the end came at a gallop, Ravindra Jadeja blazing 45 off 18 balls and Shreyas Iyer anchoring the pursuit with an unbeaten 74 on 44 deliveries. Against an impressive 183/5 posted by Sri Lanka, India’s quality and depth finally shone.

Tourists will miss Dasun Shanaka’s bad captain, his 19 47s notwithstanding, which allowed Iyer to grow in the game. A more proactive approach and the Indian batsman probably wouldn’t have lasted that long to inflict injury on the islanders. Sri Lanka had racked up 80 runs in their last five overs to give themselves a very good chance in the cold Dharamsala, in conditions that helped fast bowlers in the lead.

Then, Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara picked up the pace to soften the Indian ranking. Chameera casted Rohit Sharma, via an inside edge, the fifth time he had dismissed the opener in this format. Kumara hit Ishan Kishan on the helmet with a thunderbolt, making the southpaw nervous. This is when Shanaka should have gone all out. He had runs on the board to do it. With the ball moving through the air, two slides were the need of the hour. A single bordereau was posted instead.

So when Iyer passed a delivery from Kumara, he crossed the vacant second slip region for a four. Iyer, much like Kishan, looked uncomfortable with a blistering pace and rebound to start. “They are going to have more bouncy pitches in Australia (at the T20 World Cup),” Sunil Gavaskar joked on air.

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Credit to Iyer that he remained unfazed, embracing the khadoos mentality of the Mumbai maidans. He had to weather the storm and wait for the slower bowlers to come on the attack. Shanaka once again missed a trick by not giving Chameera an extra with the new ball, bringing Binura Fernando back instead. Iyer hosted the average pace with three straight fours.

Kumara dismissed a visibly shaken Kishan in his next class and Sanju Samson at No. 4 made a nervous start. A catch went down to the deep back square of Shanaka’s bowling alley when the Kerala batsman was on six. By then, however, Iyer had gotten into the groove.

Sri Lanka lacked adequate bowling reinforcement to support their two detachable rapids. Praveen Jayawickrama’s left arm rotation was bread and butter for Iyer. His straight six bowling gave his innings the momentum he needed.

And yet, after 10 overs, India were playing catch-up, scoring at eight runs per over and setting an ask rate of over 10. Iyer arrived at his second half-century on the spin and celebrated it with an upper -cut scornfully on a short ball from Shanaka.


The game, however, changed in the 13th, when Kumara returned for his second spell and was flattened by Samson. The first ball went for a four followed by three sixes, punctuated by a wide and a run. A 23-point overshoot tipped the balance in favor of the hosts. Still, the tourists had an outside chance, after claiming Samson’s wicket on the last ball of the plus. But Jadeja slammed the door on them.

A successive six and three fours in the 16th over played by Chameera brought victory to India’s doorstep. The way Jadeja used the crease to upset bowlers’ length was the most notable feature of his stick. After that, only the formalities remained. The third-wicket partnership between Iyer and Samson added 84 runs on 47 balls, while another 58 runs were made via an unbroken fourth wicket between Iyer and Jadeja, on 26 deliveries. The partnership stick did the job for India.

It was India’s fourth straight limited series victory under Sharma’s full-time charge. Moreover, he has now led India to 16 wins in 17 T20Is at home.

The skipper, however, focused on the big picture. “I think it was nice to see for us. The midfield order coming out and playing is good; to see these guys take responsibility and finish games,” he said during the presentation. post game.

Earlier, Sri Lanka showed some intention in bringing in Danushka Gunathilaka and promoting Charith Asalanka in the order, although the latter came on the cheap this time. After a cautious start, Gunathilaka reached his first limit in the third and gradually started to raise the bar.

Sri Lanka still had a pretty poor Powerplay – 32 unbeaten – and Jadeja’s second win was when they finally switched gears. Gunathilaka taking some sixes and fours on the left arm spinner was what the doctor ordered at this point, but the batsman couldn’t continue the assault, getting a nice catch from Venkatesh Iyer, attempting another slog-sweep .

Fairly average cricket intelligence hampered their progress in the middle overs. Kamil Mishara and Dinesh Chandimal both perished against Harshal Patel and Jasprit Bumrah respectively, playing hard-handed as the field was set for slower deliveries.

After 16 overs, Sri Lanka had 111/4 and another below average total was on the cards. But Shanaka flipped the innings, laying down on Patel and going on a six-hit streak – five in total. One of his six against Patel was so big he nearly played hide and seek with Dhauladhar, the Himalayan range the scenic stadium here overlooks.

Pathum Nissanka got bold enough to knock down a Bumrah delivery after a short third man for a four. A similar attempt against Bhuvneshwar Kumar was unsuccessful and he was knocked out of the front leg for a 75 from 53 balls.

The fifth-wicket partnership between Nissanka and Shanaka yielded 58 runs on 26 balls. But it didn’t matter in the end.

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