Colombo, July 30 (India Today) – Sri Lanka produced a clinical performance in the deciding 3rd T20 international against India to win the match by 7 wickets and clinch the series 2-1 in Colombo on Thursday.
Chasing a paltry 82 for victory, the Lankans stuttered a bit but managed to eventually scrape past the finish line to register their first-ever T20I series win over India.
The inexperienced Indian bowling attack couldn’t make a fist of the match as the target was just too small to pose a challenge even though they managed to bag three wickets through Rahul Chahar, who sent back both openers Avishka Fernando and Minod Bhanuka for 12 and 18 respectively. The leg-spinner bagged 3 for 15 from his 4 overs.
Dhananjaya de Silva (23 not out) and Wanindu Hasaranga (14 not out) finished the job by the 15th over to help Sri Lanka register their first T20I series win in two years. It was under Dasun Shanaka that they last won a T20I series in October 2019, against Pakistan in Lahore.
The defeat also brought an end to India’s 8-series unbeaten run in T20 international cricket. Although it must be noted that this wasn’t India’s full-strength side as they lost 9 of their regular players in the final two T20Is after Krunal Pandya tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.
The match however, was set up by the Lankan all-rounder Hasaranga, who bagged his maiden four-wicket haul on his 24th birthday to virtually end the contest in the first half of India’s innings.
India got off to a poor start with Shikhar Dhawan falling for a golden duck to Dushmantha Chameera in the first over. The skipper’s dismissal triggered a dramatic batting collapse as the young batsmen failed to tackle the Lankan spinners for the second game in a row.
HASARANGA SPECIAL FLOORS INDIA
Devdutt Padikkal got run out for 9 before Hasaranga bagged the wickets of Sanju Samson (0) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (14) in the fifth over to reduce India to 25 for 4 inside 5 overs.
Dasun Shanaka then stepped up, taking a brilliant catch on his follow-through to send back Nitish Rana for 6 before Hasaranga returned to dismiss Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 16.
It was Bhuvi’s partnership with Kuldeep Yadav which turned out to be the best one for India, with the duo adding 19 runs for the 7th-wicket to take the team past the 50-run mark.
Kuldeep waged a lone battle from there one, scoring 23 not out as India finished with 81 for 8 in 20 overs, their third-lowest total in T20Is and the second lowest by a team after batting the full quota of overs in this format.
Hasaranga finished with a career-best 4 for 9 from his four overs which is also the best figures by any cricketer on his birthday in T20I cricket, bettering the previous record of 4 for 21 by South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir against the Netherlands during a 2014 T20 World Cup group match in Chittagong.