Colombo: All-round India registered their second consecutive win in the Nidahas T20I tri-series on Monday with their six-wicket victory over hosts Sri Lanka here, at the R. Premadasa stadium.
Rain had already made an impact on the game as it was reduced to 19-overs a side.
Winning the toss and opting to bowl first didn’t prove to be too fruitful a decision for Rohit Sharma as Sri Lanka began with a bang-much like they had done against the same opponents in the first match.
It was Kusal Mendis this time, whose big-hitting skills took centre-stage as he and Danushka Gunathilaka smashed 24 runs off the first two overs. But a Suresh Raina blinder at mid-wicket sent back Gunathilaka (17), giving India the much-needed breakthrough of Shardul Thakur’s bowling.
The dangerous Kusal Perera was the next to fall, as Washington Sundar after he attempted a reverse sweep and the ball ended up disturbing the woodwork behind him. But a 62-run stand between Mendis and Upul Tharanga revived the Sri Lankan innings before Vijay Shankar got into the act, dismissing Tharanga (22) who didn’t look settled at the crease.
All-rounder Thisara Perera, who was leading the side in place of Dinesh Chandimal walked in a played a cameo of 15 runs of six balls, with two sixes. But it Mendis, on whom rested the entire Sri Lankan innings. The right-hander powered his way to a magnificent 55 of just 38 balls with three fours and as many sixes, keeping his team in the hunt for a good total.
It was Yuzvendra Chahal, who ended the Mendis carnage as he had him caught by skipper Sharma at cover, which gave India the upper hand in the match. Mendis’ dismissal was a huge blow to the hosts as they could only muster 152/9 in the first innings. Shardul Thakur was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets for 27 runs.
In reply, Rohit Sharma (11) once again failed to score big as he was dismissed in the second over, mistiming a flick off Akila Dananjaya’s bowling to leave India at 17/1.
The wily right-armer was into the act again as he sent back opener Shikhar Dhawan (8) who has been in good form so far. Suresh Raina hit some lusty blows to score a quickfire 27 of 15 balls before he found Perera of a mistimed flat-batted slap.
KL Rahul (18) who was batting well till then was the next to fall, in the most bizarre way possible, becoming the first Indian batsman to be dismissed hit-wicket in T20Is. In an attempt to nudge the ball on to the leg side, the Karnataka batsman accidentally went to far into the crease which caused his backfoot to hit the stumps.
But a 68-run stand between Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik ensured that India got home safe with 1.3 overs left and six wickets in hand. Pandey scored a stylish 42 of 31 balls with three fours and one six while Karthik, helped himself to 39 runs of 25 balls with five hits to the fence.
Sri Lanka 152/9 (Kusal Mendis 55, Upul Tharanga 22; Shardul Thakur 4/27) lost to India 153/4 in 17.3 overs (Manish Pandey 42*, Dinesh Karthik 39; Akila Dananjaya 2/16) by 6 wickets.