IND vs SL, 3rd T20I, Review: Sri Lanka go down fighting as India complete a series whitewash

IND vs SL, 3rd T20I, Review: Sri Lanka go down fighting as India complete a series whitewash

The match went down to wire but India kept their nerves in the end.

Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey plays a shot. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India have completed a clean sweep over Sri Lanka in the three-match T20I series by winning the final game by five wickets in a close game at Wankhede. The visitors went down fighting for a change in this series after being capitulated under pressure in the first two matches. The Men in Blue ended the year on a high with a trademark MS Dhoni finish bringing the memories back of 2011 World Cup final. However, Sri Lanka will be happy with their perofrmance but again they failed to deliver in crunch times and India pounced on it big time.

Rohit Sharma finally won the toss in this series and invited the visitors to bat first in front of the vociferous crowd at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. India surprised everyone by resting Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah as they handed over a debut to young Washington Sundar and Mohammad Siraj came back for his second game. Sri Lanka too brought back Danushka Gunathilaka and Dasun Shanaka in a quest to avoid a whitewash in the shortest format of the game. They continued with the same opening duo of Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga.

Batting woes at the top continue for Sri Lanka

The things didn’t change for them as the Jaydev Unadkat scalped the former who was trying too many shots early on in his innings. Soon Kusal Perera who looked in good touch in Indore chipped one back to the debutant Sundar and things went from bad to worse when Tharanga too holed out in the deep once again off Unadkat. The team from island nation were tottering at 18/3 in the fourth over. Then Asela Gunaratne held one end even as the wickets kept on falling at the other end. Sadeera Samarawickrama sparkled for a while but couldn’t stretch his knock beyond 21.

Sri Lanka looked out of the game at 85/6 after 13 overs as Dasun Shanaka walked in to change things a little bit. He added a crucial stand of 26 runs with Gunaratne who scored 36 off 37 with three boundaries. But the real push and momentum to Sri Lanka’s innings was provided by Shanaka as they scored 18 runs in the final over off Siraj. The young all-rounder smashed two sixes as the visitors finished on 135/7 after their 20 overs. Unadkat was the best bowler as he conceded only 15 runs and picked two top order wickets. Even the spin-twins Kuldeep Yadav and Sundar bowled well and shared four wickets between them.

The tricky chase goes India’s way

The Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul strode out to the middle with an aim to complete a comprehensive whitewash by gunning down the low total with ease. But the stickiness of the wicket didn’t help their cause as the visitors used their variations smartly. They were finally putting up a fight even with a low score on the board and scalped the openers comparatively cheaply as the home side could only muster 37 in the powerplay. The struggle continued for Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey with Shanaka using his slower balls cleverly. Even Dushmantha Chameera generated bounce off the wicket which surprised the batsmen.

But Pandey struck some meaty blows as he added 42 with Iyer who was unfortunately run-out courtesy Akila Dananjaya’s awareness. The Men in Blue tinkered with the batting order and sent Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik ahead of MS Dhoni. The move didn’t work with Pandey following Pandya to the dug out as things started to get close in the death overs. Thisara Perera took the onus on him to bowl two overs out of the final three as he delivered a perfect 18th over by conceding only five runs.

The course of singles continued with India going for singles naturally with Dhoni eyeing for a last over finish once again with Dinesh Karthik. However, the things were done and dusted off the final ball of the penultimate over with Sri Lankan hearts broken once again. Karthik belted a waist-high full toss deep into the mid-wicket and a nervous Wankhede roared vociferously. The master of the finisher, Dhoni, then finished off in style with a boundary towards the backward square leg.

The bowling of the visitors kept them in the game throughout the chase as only one bad delivery took it away from them. The likes of Shanaka, Chameera, Perera, and Akila bowled their hearts out and won the hearts of the spectators for sure. Sri Lanka should feel proud of themselves for finally living up to the expectations albeit in the final game of the tour. India, on the other hand, were delighted after completing a whitewash over Sri Lanka.

Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka 135/7 after 20 overs (A Gunaratne 36, D Shanaka 29; J Unadkat 2/15, H Pandya 2/25)

India 139/5 after 19.2 overs (M Pandey 32, S Iyer 30; D Chameera 2/22, D Shanaka 2/27)

Result: India won by 5 wickets

Man of the Match: Jaydev Unadkat

Man of the Series: Jaydev Unadkat