Dharamsala : Riding on explosive knocks from Shreyas Iyer (74 not out off 44), Ravindra Jadeja (45 not out off 18) and Sanju Samson (39 off 25), India thrashed Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the second T20I, to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, at the picturesque HPCA Stadium, here on Saturday.
With this win, India also extended their winning run in T20I cricket to 11 matches, a streak that began at last year’s T20 World Cup.
Put in to bat first, a fighting knock from Pathum Nissanka (75 off 53) and an attacking cameo by Dasun Shanaka (47 not out off 19) propelled Sri Lanka to 183-5 in 20 overs. Apart from Nissanka and Shanaka, Danushka Gunathilaka also played a vital knock (38 off 29) for the visitors.
Chasing a challenging total, India were off to a poor start as Dushmantha Chameera dismissed Rohit Sharma in the very first over of the innings. Shreyas Iyer then joined the previous game’s half-centurion Ishan Kishan at the crease.
Sri Lanka rattled India with pace in the powerplay as Chameera and Lahiru Kumara were consistently hitting speeds of 140-plus. The duo targeted Ishan with short balls and the wicket-keeper batter struggled during his short innings before getting out for 16 from 15 balls, leaving India struggling at 44/2.
After losing both openers inside the powerplay, India were in a spot of bother but Shreyas Iyer played a counter-attacking knock. The stylish batter broke through India’s dry spell after Ishan’s wicket with a couple of straight sixes against the left-arm spin of Praveen Jayawickrama and looked like he was batting on a totally different pitch than what Sanju Samson seemed to be on.
Samson (39 off 26), who was playing his first international game in seven months, was struggling for timing. After taking his sweet time to settle down, Samson changed the momentum of the chase with a 23-run over against Lahiru Kumara, with a boundary and three sixes before being caught one-handed at slip by Fernando in the same over (13th).
Thereafter, Ravindra Jadeja came to bat and he didn’t waste a delivery at the crease literally, getting off the mark with a boundary off his first ball. He then tore into Chameera in the 16th over, hitting a maximum and three boundaries to really hasten India towards victory.
In the end, India made short work of a target of 184 as Shreyas Iyer sparkled with an innings of 74 not out off 44 balls while Ravindra Jadeja played an attacking cameo (45 not out off 18), taking the hosts home with 2.5 overs to spare.
Earlier, in the day, openers Pathum Nissanka and Danushka Gunathilaka gave Sri Lanka a slow start. India’s new-ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah got plenty of swing and with their disciplined length and line, they tested Sri Lanka’s batters.
After bowling two overs each of Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah in tandem, skipper Rohit Sharma introduced Harshal Patel into the attack in the 5th over and both Gunathilaka and Nissanka picked boundaries while stepping out of the crease. Yuzvendra Chahal then conceded seven runs off his first over as Sri Lanka managed to post 32 runs in the powerplay without any wicket.
After the first six overs, the Sri Lanka batters grew in confidence, especially against the spinners and rotated the strike well. They also picked occasional boundaries as well and completed their 50-run opening partnership in the 8th over.
It was Jadeja, who gave India their first wicket in the 9th over. After conceding 16 runs off the first three deliveries, Jadeja dismissed Gunathilaka in the fourth ball of the over. The left-hander attempted to loft a fullish delivery over mid-wicket but found a top-edge and Venkatesh Iyer took a good catch near long-on.
Charith Asalanka, who came to bat next, couldn’t do much and was dismissed by Chahal for two runs. The batter was trapped in front of the wicket while trying to play a sweep. Harshal Patel with his slower one then got rid of Kamil Mishara (1), leaving Sri Lanka at 76-3 after 10.6 overs.
Despite the flurry of wickets at the other end, opener Nissanka remained undeterred and continued to play his shots, picking 12 runs in the 13th over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He had a brief partnership of 26 runs with Dinesh Chandimal for the fourth wicket, before the latter was dismissed by Bumrah, leaving the visitors at 102-4 after 14.4 overs.
With around five overs to go, Nissanka was running out of partners and needed support from his captain Dasun Shanaka, who came in to bat. Soon, Nissanka completed his fifty in style, hitting Chahal for a boundary towards cover. Thereafter, skipper Shanaka also showed his batting skills by smashing Harshal for two sixes in his over and overall taking 19 runs off the over along with Nissanka.
Bumrah who bowled the next over also conceded 14 runs as Nissanka cleverly capitalised on the full tosses bowled by the pacer and brought his 50 runs stand with Shanaka in merely 22 deliveries. In the last delivery of the 19th over, Bhuvneshwar finally dismissed Nissanka (75), who tried to play a reverse slap was trapped in front of the wicket.
However, it didn’t affect the run flow as Shanaka smashed Harshal for 23 runs in the last over. The Sri Lankan skipper overall slammed five sixes during his unbeaten 47 off 19 balls and took Sri Lanka to 183/5 in 20 overs.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 183-5 in 20 overs (Pathum Nissanka 75, Dasun Shanaka 47 not out; Jasprit Bumrah 1/24) lost to India (Shreyas Iyer (74 not out, Ravindra Jadeja 45 not out; Lahiru Kumara (2/31) by 7 wickets