Sri Lanka hammer India by 7 wickets, win T20I series
Sri Lanka produced one of their most dominating performances in recent times to restrict a heavily depleted Indian cricket team to a score of 81/8 in 20 overs and record a seven wicket victory in the third and final T20 international played at the R Premadasa stadium on Thursday night.
With their commanding victory against the old foes India, Sri Lanka were able to record their first-ever series win against India in the shortest format of cricket in eight attempts, but in a manner which was absolutely belligerent and ruthless.
Sri Lanka all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga was the star performer with the match, as he returned with a splendid bowling spell of 4-0-9-4 while the others were also equally impressive in a commanding victory. Having lost nine of their top players because of the coronavirus restrictions, India were forced to hand yet another debut, this time to Kerala fast bowler Sandeep Warrier.
India decided to bat first after winning the toss and it all went south from there on. India captain Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed for a duck on the first ball that he faced, and Sri Lanka captain introduced Wanindu Hasaranga early on in the innings who wrecked the Indian batting attack with a splendid spell of spin bowling.
Hasaranga accounted for the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Varun Chakravarthy while the other batsmen from the Indian team also struggled against a determined Sri Lankan team, which was confident after their series levelling victory in the second T20I.
Kumar was the second highest run scorer for India with 16 runs whereas the top scorer was a surprise package in Kuldeep Yadav, who batted extremely well with application and confidence to make 23 not out, which pushed the Indian total to 81/8 in 20 overs.
India, who are already playing with a very short batting line-up, saw all of their specialist batsmen misfiring. Gaikwad was dismissed for 14, Dhawan made 0, Pallikal made 9, Samson made 0 and Nitish Rana was dismissed for 6.
Apart from Hasaranga, Shanaka claimed two wickets, and Dushmantha Chameera and Ramesh Mendes grabbed one wicket each for Sri Lanka.
It was all easy for Sri Lanka with the but even though India did not give up easily. Avishka Fernando was dismissed by Rahul Chahar for 12, and the Indian legspinner went on to trap Minod Bhanuka in front of the wickets for 18 to give his side a reason to smile. Sadeera Samarawickrama made only 6 but the pair of Dhananjaya de Silva and Hasaranga, who both made 23 and 14 respectively, ensured that Sri Lanka went past the finish line in the 15th over of the innings.