Cricket

Magnificent 'Men in Blue' completes a whitewash in the T20I series against Sri Lanka

[caption id="attachment_60556" align="aligncenter" width="580"]DR056BoW0AAEWUe Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni in the middle during India's chase today. Image Source: ICC[/caption]

Internet Desk: Rohit Sharma led Indian cricket team completed a 3-0 whitewash against Sri Lanka in the T20Is after they beat the visitors by 5 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Restricting Sri Lanka to 135 for 7 in its 20 overs, at a venue where scores of 170+ have been easily chased down in the past, India might have anticipated an easy win. However, the home side was given a run for its money by Sri Lanka, but contributions from Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer, and later Dinesh Karthik and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, saw it home in 19.2 overs.

Sri Lanka started its defense well, with Akila Danajaya deceiving Rohit Sharma in the first over itself with a googly that missed the stumps by a whisker. Dushmantha Chameera, bowling with good pace, gave away just one run in his first over and was rewarded with the wicket of KL Rahul in his second, trapping the opener lbw with an in-dipper for four. Rahul referred the decision upstairs, only to have the on-field umpire's verdict upheld.

Rohit, meanwhile, slammed Danajaya for a six and a four and then carted Nuwan Perera for two fours on the trot as India reached 37 for 1 at the end of six overs. Just when it seemed the Indian skipper was taking things away from the visitors yet again, a short delivery from Dasun Shanaka, which he could only loft to deep midwicket, ended up being his undoing. Kusal Perera completed a good diving effort to get rid of Rohit, who slammed four fours and a six during his 20-ball 27.

Sri Lanka managed to stem the flow of runs well, denying Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey, the two new men at the crease, any freebies. India reached 56 for 2 at the end of ten overs, and had to keep with the required run-rate.

With boundaries hard to come by, both batsmen were forced to take the extra risk while running. That led to Iyer (32), who was hamstrung with a leg injury, getting run out backing up too far when a flat-batted stroke by Pandey was deflected back on the stumps by Dananjaya. Pandey opened up soon after, thumping three boundaries, but was undone by a pacy Chameera delivery that rattled his stumps for a 29-ball 32.

After Hardik Pandya too fell, it boiled down to 15 needed in the last two overs, and then nine off seven. Pradeep dished a knee-high full toss that was slammed away for a six over deep midwicket by Karthik (18 not out), and Dhoni (16 not out) hit the winning runs.

Chameera was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers, finishing with 2 for 22 in four overs, while Shanaka chipped in with two wickets as well.

Earlier, Rohit's decision to send Sri Lanka in was vindicated with Unadkat and Washington Sundar, making his T20I debut, combining to snare three wickets in the first four overs.

Unadkat drew first blood, getting rid of Niroshan Dickwella (1) for the third time this series with the opener mistiming a pick-up shot straight into the hands of Mohammed Siraj at mid-on in the second over. Washington then got into the act, bamboozling Kusal Perera, the star of the previous game, as he lobbed a simple catch back to the bowler for four.

Unadkat deceived Upul Tharanga with a brilliantly disguised slower ball which the southpaw could only hit as far as Pandya at deep midwicket to reduce Sri Lanka to 19 for 3.

Asela Gunaratne and Sadeera Samarawickrama then combined for a brief counter-attack which started with an 11-run over off Siraj. Their 38-run collaboration, however, was cut short, with Pandya getting rid of Samarawickrama for a 17-ball 21 caught by Karthik running back from mid-on.

Thisara Perera (11), batting at No. 7, tonked Siraj for two boundaries off the 12th over, but the medium pacer had the last laugh. He deceived the Sri Lankan skipper with a slower ball which he could only clip to Rohit at midwicket, the scoreboard reading 85 for 6 at the end after 13 overs.

Gunaratne was the next man to go, miscuing a short delivery from Pandya to midwicket where Kuldeep, running to his left, pouched it well. The middle-order batsman scored 36 in 37 deliveries with three boundaries to his name.

Sri Lanka managed to slam 18 runs in the last over, with Shanaka, who hit two sixes during his unbeaten 24-ball 29, and Danajaya (11 not out) taking Siraj to the cleaners. It was enough for a good tussle, but not a win.

Unadkat returned with figures of 2 for 15 in his four overs, while Pandya finished with 2 for 25.

Brief Scores: 

Sri Lanka: 135 for 7 in 20 overs (Asela Gunaratne 36, Dasun Shanaka 29 not out; Jaydev Unadkat 2/15).

India: 139 for 5 in 19.2 overs (Manish Pandey 32, Shreyas Iyer 30; Dushmantha Chameera 2/22, Dasun Shanaka 2/27).

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