Sri Lanka beat India by 16 runs in their second T20I in Pune. The victory enabled them to level the series, India having won the first match by two runs in Mumbai. And it means that the third match which will take place in Rajkot on Saturday now becomes a series decider.
Whilst Sri Lanka named the same starting XI, India made two changes with Rahul Tripathi coming in for Sanju Samson and Arshdeep Singh replacing Harshal Patel.
India won the toss and decided to field first, but some wayward bowling enabled the tourists to get off to a fast start, with Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka putting on 80 for the first wicket in a little over 8 overs.
Three quick wickets enabled India to regain a measure of control, among them Mendis who had made 52, but the Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka formed an unbeaten partnership of 78 for the seventh wicket, that took his side past the 200 mark.
They finished their 20 overs on 206/6, with Shanaka unbeaten on 56.
Umran Malik was the most successful of the Indian bowlers with 3 – 48.
The Indian innings never recovered from the loss of early wickets against the Sri Lanka pace attack, as they slumped to 21/3 and then 57/5. It was left to Suryakumar Yadav and Axar Patel to try and stage a rescue act, although the required run rate was always against them,
The pair shared a stand of 91 for the sixth wicket, with Yadav making 51 of them, including 3 sixes and three fours, before he was caught. Patel then found support from Shivam Mavi (who had earlier been unable to replicate his success with the ball in the first T20I), and the pair added 41 more for the eight wicket until Patel’s innings came to an end, with three balls left to be bowled.
He had made 65 off just 31 balls, including 3 sixes. Mavi himself scored 2 sixes in his26, but India could only manage 190/8 from their allotted overs, and were well beaten in the end.
There were two wickets each for Dilshan Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha and Dasun Shanaka, which, combined with his contribution with the bat, was enough to earn him the Player of the Match award.
Key talking points
It is a young Indian team
Criticism of the Indian team for their defeat should be kept in check by the fact that they are fielding a young side in this series, full of names that have little experience in international cricket. Matches like this will be a key learning experience for many of them, and acclimatise them to the pressures that go with playing international cricket.
There are bound to be bumps in the road, and one bad day at the office does not mean those concerned are not worthy of a second chance, nor should there be haste to call for the recall of some of the “big names.”
Singh’s unwanted record
Pace bowler Arshdeep Singh, who was back in the side after injury, set an unwanted record, by becoming the first Indian to concede a hat-trick of no balls in T20I cricket.
He first overstepped the mark with what was meant to be the last ball of his first over. His next ball, which was also deemed to be a no-ball, was cracked for four, and worse was to follow, as Kusal Mendis smashed his third illegal delivery for six.
He went on to set a new record of no balls for India in a T20I match, finishing with five in all, and, whilst he only bowled 2 overs, they cost his side 37 runs.
Not that his captain Hardik Pandya, offered much sympathy, stating in his post-match interview that it is a crime to bowl a no-ball in any form of cricket. Comments like that will have done little for the confidence of the young left-arm seamer.
Shanaka leading from the front
Shanaka had top scored for Sri Lanka in the first T20I and again he stepped-up for his team with both bat and ball in this match, whilst he showed good captaincy with the way that he rotated his bowlers, and did not panic when Yadav and Patel were in full flow.
If they are to win the series in Rajkot, he may need to deliver again for his country.
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