Sri Lanka ended a 13-year wait to win a bilateral series against India when they crushed their friendly neighbours by 7 wickets to win the 3rd T20I and sealed the series, 2-1 on Thursday night at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
After opting to bat first, Indian batting faulted from the beginning as captain Shikhar Dhawan edged one to slip off Dushmantha Chameera in the first over. Young Devdutt Padikkal was trapped LBW for a 15-ball 9.
Sanju Samson’s entry prompted the introduction of Wanindu Hasaranga who managed to dismiss the swashbuckling batsman once again,trapped plumb in front. Ruturaj Gaikwad too suffered the same fate against Hasaranga and the last recognised batsman Nitish Rana chipped one back to Dasun Shanaka who took a stunning one-handed catch as India were 5 down for just 36 runs
Kuldeep Yadav top-scored with an unbeaten 23* as India avoided their lowest T20I score of 74 with the help of the tail. Bhuvneshwar Kumar chipped in with 16 as India were restricted to 81 for 8 from their allotted 20 overs. Birthday boy, Hasaranga returned career-best figures of 4 for 9 from his 4 overs.
Chasing a mere 82 runs to win, Sri Lanka too struggled against the Indian spinners as the pitch offered plenty of grip and turn. Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar took all three wickets for the visitors. He first picked up Avishka Fernando, holding onto a return catch, then trapped Minod Bhanuka plumb in front and castled Sadeera Samarawickrama’s weak defense.
Dhananjaya De Silva and Wanindu Hasaranga made sure there were no jitters in the chase nudging the spinners for quick singles to take Sri Lanka over the line. De Silva, the star from the 2nd T20I, once again made a timely, unbeaten 23.
Sri Lanka last beat India in a bilateral series across formats in 2008. Sri Lanka beat India in a three-Test series 2-1 at home then. In the 20 bilateral encounters since till this T20I series (one-off matches included), India went on to win as many as 18, including all of the last 13, with two ending in stalemates. It was also Sri Lanka’s first bilateral T20I series win against India in eight attempts.
Under Dasun Shanaka’s captaincy, Sri Lanka has now won 5 games out of 6 T20Is. In 2019, he led Sri Lanka to a 3-0 win against Pakistan in Pakistan.
India – 81/8 (20): Kuldeep Yadav 23*, Wanindu Hasaranga 4/09, Dasun Shanaka 2/20.
Sri Lanka – 82/3 (14.3): Dhananjaya De Silva 23*, Minod Bhanuka 18, Wanindu Hasaranga 14, Rahul Chahar 3/15.
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