All-round India thrash Sri Lanka by seven wickets

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07 Jan 2020 | 01:28 PM
authorAshish Pant

All-round India thrash Sri Lanka by seven wickets

The bowlers first did their bit restricting Sri Lanka to 142/9 before the batsmen came out all guns blazing to romp home in 17.3 overs with seven wickets in hand

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India's love affair with Holkar Stadium, in Indore as the hosts thrashed Sri Lanka by seven wickets to win the second T20 International by seven wickets.

It was a thorough all-round show from India who first restricted Sri Lanka to a meagre 142/9 in their 20 overs. The batsmen then led by KL Rahul's sprightly 45 chased down the target with a minimum of fuss as India romped home in 17.3 overs.

After the opening T20 International was ruined by rain, India returned to fortress Indore as they geared up for the second encounter against Sri Lanka in a ground where they were yet to be defeated. 

Virat Kohli had no hesitation in chasing after winning the toss as both teams went unchanged for the affair.

All eyes were on Jasprit Bumrah, who was returning to competitive cricket after four months. He did not have the most auspicious of starts though to his comeback starting off with a wide and then conceding another four in his first over. Sri Lanka, Avishka Fernando, in particular, got off to a good start.

The right-hander first tonked Bumrah for a four before taking Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini for three more fours in successive overs. 

However, Washington Sundar, who has often delivered for Kohli in the powerplays, once again came to the fore. With just his fifth ball, he sent Fernando back. The batsman looking to clear mid-off could not get enough elevation and was dismissed for a 16-ball 22.

Sri Lanka reached 48/1 after six overs but India courtesy their slower bowlers plugged back the visitors.

Kohli rung in the bowling changes post the powerplay and the move seemed to pay dividends. Navdeep Saini further provided joy to the Indore fans when he removed Gunathilaka's middle stump with a searing 147.5 kmph yorker. There was little the opener could have done with that as he walked back for a 21-ball 20 in the eighth over. 

Kusal Perera came in at no.4 but failed to get going. He did thump Sundar for a massive six over deep midwicket but striking at less than 100 proved to be less than ideal for his side. Oshada Fernando too failed to things moving as Sri Lanka struggled against Saini and Sundar. 

Kuldeep Yadav was introduced into the attack in the 12th over and while he was greeted with a massive six from Perera off his very first ball, he returned in style to get rid of Fernando. With an inch-perfect wrong’un, he deceived the right-hander, who ran down the wicket only to be stumped for 10. 

Kuldeep then in his very next over removed the big fish Perera. The left-hander looking to up the ante could only mistime the wrist-spinner as far as long-on. He was dismissed for a 28-ball 34. Saini then with the penultimate ball of his spell sent back Bhanuka Rajapaksa with a rip-snorter of bouncer as Sri Lanka limped to 104/5 after 15 overs. 

If the first 15 overs had Sri Lanka in check, India completely dominated proceedings in the death. 

Jasprit Bumrah first sent Dasun Shanaka packing with the most-perfect slower ball for 7. With the wicket, Bumrah became the joint-highest wicket-taker for India in T20Is alongside Yuzvendra Chahal and R Ashwin. 

Shardul Thakur then struck thrice in the 19th over of the innings. He first removed Dhananjaya de Silva for 17 caught at mid-off before removing Isuru Udana for 1. The very next delivery he sent Lasith Malinga back for a golden duck.

Wanindu Hasaranga did provide some sort of flourish at the end striking Bumrah for three successive fours but on a surface which has been a haven for batsmen 142/9 was always going to be short. Thakur was India's most successful bowler returning 3/23 off his four overs while Saini and Kuldeep picked up two wickets apiece. 

The Indians led by KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan started off the chase with a flourish. Rahul, in particular, was at his aggressive best. He started off with a fortuitous inside-edge down to square before displaying his full array of strokes. Two successive cover-drives off Malinga was followed by a similar gorgeous drive against Dhananjaya de Silva. 

Rahul then thumped Lahiru Kumara for two more fours as India raced to 54/0 after six overs. 

Sri Lanka tried their best to peg things back and did manage to an extent but the target was always against them. Wanindu Hasaranga first got rid of Rahul with a well-disguised wrong'un. The opener ran down the track failing to pick up the googly only to miss it and see his stumps in a mess. Rahul fell for a 32-ball 45, his innings laced with six fours.

In his very next over, the leg-spinner got rid of Dhawan this time with a leg-break. The left-hander going for the sweep missed and although the umpire initially gave it not out, the decision was changed on DRS. Dhawan departed for 32. 

However, that did not deter the Indians. Kohli walked in at no.4 much to the delight of the Indore crowd. With his first run, the 2634th of his career, Kohli became the highest run-scorer in the T20I format surpassing Rohit Sharma. 

With just 39 runs to win after the 15-over mark, Kohli and Iyer laid into the Sri Lankan bowlers. Iyer first thrashed Hasaranga for two fours and a six before Kohli finished off the game depositing Lahiru Kumara for half a dozen over fine leg. The Indian captain finished on 30* off just 17 deliveries. For Sri Lanka, Hasaranga was the most successful bowler returning 2/30 off his four overs. 

The two teams will next travel to Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune for the third and final T20i of the series.

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