Ind v SL 1st T20I Review: Lankan pacers gun down India

Ind v SL 1st T20I Review: Lankan pacers gun down India

(Photo Source: BCCI)
The Sri Lankan bowlers were all over the place and Indian batsmen knew nothing. (Photo Source: BCCI)

It was a very dismal start to the home series for India as they lost the opening match by 5 wickets to give a 1-0 lead to the visiting Sri Lankan team. The Indians were completely blown away by the Lankan pacers. Debutant Kasun Rajitha (3/29) and Dasun Shanaka (3/16) took three wickets respectively and brought the strong Indian batting line-up to dust. The Indian batsmen looked totally clueless against the Lankan bowlers and were eventually surrendered for just 101 runs in 18.5 overs.

The Lankans, in reply, batted cautiously, keeping in mind the liveliness of the pitch and eventually chased down the target with 12 balls to spare.

Dinesh Chandimal won the toss amidst the cheering Pune crowd at the MCA Stadium. Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan came out to bat under the floodlights on a grassy pitch. But, sadly, the start wasn’t great. Debutant fast bowler Rajitha took no time to let everyone know his ability after he dismissed Rohit Sharma off just the second delivery of the first over. Rajitha took one more off the last ball of the over after Rahane mistimed one and Chandimal took a superb catch at short extra cover. Extra bounce and seam movement got better of the right-hander. The debutant landed the third blow after unpicking Dhawan a couple of overs later.

Indians kept losing wickets in clusters as the Lankan pacers continued to their domination. Dushmantha Chameera (2/14) who was held back by Chandimal also quickly came to the party after getting introduced. Seam-bowling all-rounder Dasun Shanaka (3/16) also enjoyed the conditions.

The expectations were on Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina but they also were unable to save India from the embarrassment. Raina (20 from 20 balls) had no answer to Shanaka’s full in-swinger which rattled his stumps. Yuvraj (10 from 14 balls), who started off with a six, also followed him quickly after handing a return catch to Chameera. Shanaka broke the spine of the Indian middle order after he snapped up both skipper MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya.

The saving grace for India came in the form of Ashwin and Nehra, who hung in around for a while and stitched a valuable 28 runs stand, taking India to the hundred-run mark.

With a simple task of chasing 102 runs to win, the Lankans openers Dickwella and Gunathilaka might have felt little easy while coming into bat. But, Nehra had other motives as he gave the same treatment to the visitors with which the Indians were welcomed. Nehra made both the openers depart in quick successions to bring them down to 23/2 initially.

The experienced duo of Chandimal and Kapugedara then took the matter in their hand. The pair batted fluently for a 39 runs stand before off-spinner R Ashwin broke the partnership dismissing Kapugedara (25 from 26 balls) in the 12th over. The excitement in the match was kept alive by Raina and Ashwin as both chipped in with the wickets of Chandimal (35 from 35 balls) and Shanaka (3 from 8 balls)

But, even after losing these wickets, the match was virtually in favor of Lanka and it was just a matter of formality as Milinda Siriwardana quickly hit the handful of runs required to finish the match.

Ashwin (2/13) was the most effective bowler for India. Jasprit Bumrah was also equally good but returned wicketless.

Sri Lanka came here with a depleted side with most of their star player sidelined due to injuries. But, the Lankan newbies were truly spectacular and shocked the Indians with their mind blowing show. The wicket was tough to bat and MS Dhoni would have surely felt that the team was about 20 runs short of the required total to defend successfully under this condition.

Brief Scores:

India: 101 all out in 18.5 overs (Ravichandran Ashwin 31; Dasun Shanaka 3/16)

Sri Lanka: 102/5 in 18 overs (Dinesh Chandimal 35; Ravichandran Ashwin 2/13)

Man of the Match: Kasun Rajitha (Sri Lanka)

What did the two captains say after the match? – This was like English conditions: MS Dhoni