SRI LANKA VS INDIA: Bhuvneshwar and Co. negate SL threat as India go 1-0 up

Suryakumar Yadav struck a half-century but it was the experienced pros that handed India a 1-0 lead in the T20I series with a 38-run win over Sri Lanka. Shikhar Dhawan made 46 but Yuzvendra Chahal (1-19) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4-22) were instrumental in India nailing the chase after being put under pressure by Charith Asalanka (44) and to some extent by Avishka Fernando (26).

Shaw, Samson, and the early drama

India handed debuts to Prithvi Shaw and Varun Chakravarthy. Shaw fell to Dushmantha Chameera on the first delivery of the game for a duck as India opted to stick to the left-right combination. Sanju Samson walked in at No. 3 and creamed a cover drive when he was on 10. Avishka Fernando at extra cover claimed the catch but replays showed the ball had fallen just short.

Samson and Dhawan scored 51 off 36 to get India going before Samson fell for 27 off 20. The right-hander had played a promising knock but Wanindu Hasaranga struck with his first ball to neutralize that threat.

Suryakumar Yadav, Dhawan lay India’s platform

Once Samson set the tone, Dhawan picked up the pace and helped India transfer some of the pressure back on Sri Lanka. The pair made 62 off 48 for the third wicket and took the score past 100 in the 12th over. India looked good to post a total in access of 180 when the pair found their rhythm but the India captain fell trying to pick up the pace. Dhawan made 46 and was caught at square leg in the 15th over with 113 on the board.

India’s disappointing finish

Dhawan and Suryakumar falling in quick succession hurt India’s chances of going big in the final five overs. They managed only 43 in the last five after Hasaranga removed Suryakumar in the 16th over. Hardik Pandya failed to find any rhythm and wanted to slog his way out of trouble. The all-rounder made 10 off 12 as Sri Lanka made a strong comeback. Ishan Kishan made 20 off 14 to push the score past 160 and give the bowlers a fighting score.

Sri Lanka’s strong start

Avishka Fernando started Sri Lanka’s chase with a boundary, an outside edge over first slip, as the hosts made 20 in the opening 20 overs. Minod Bhanuka fell to Krunal Pandya in the third but Fernando took on Deepak Chahar in the fourth over to keep the chase going. India were guilty of being sloppy early on. Hardik dropped Bhanuka in the second over while Krunal put in a poor effort to leak a boundary.

Experience brings India back

It took the experience of Yuzvendra Chahal and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to give India two crucial breakthroughs. After Sri Lanka posted 46 for 1 in the powerplay, Chahal removed Dhananjaya de Silva in the seventh. Bhuvneshwar then dismissed Fernando in the next over as Sri Lanka slipped to 55 for 3 in nine overs. Ashen Bandara struggled his way to 9 off 19 as the pressure mounted on hosts to pick up the pace. Charith Asalanka did the heavy lifting and recovered from being 11 off 10 to hammering 43 off 23. Chahal kept Asalanka quiet in the 15th over to reduce the equation to 58 off the last five. The legspinner ended the night with 4-0-19-1 to his name.

Sri Lanka’s final fall

The pressure built by Chahal helped Deepak Chahar earn his first wicket. Asalanka was caught in the deep in the 16th for 44 before the pacer removed Hasaranga for a duck. There wasn’t much from the lower order as India came out of the pressure situation in flying colors.

Brief scores: India 164/5 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 50; Dushmantha Chameera 2-24) beat Sri Lanka 126 in 18.3 overs (Charith Asalanka 44; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-22) by 38 runs.


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