The final encounter of India’s tour to Sri Lanka was in danger of being washed out but the rain relented just before the match. Even the rain gods couldn’t save the hosts from being decimated in all 3 formats. The match began 40 minutes past the scheduled start of play but thankfully, no overs were reduced.
Mixed bag in the first innings
Virat Kohli won the toss and asked the home side to bat first. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a good first over giving away just 4 runs. But Niroshan Dickwella took a liking to Jasprit Bumrah and smashed him for 3 fours in a row in the 2nd over. Bhuvneshwar bowled a beautiful in-swinging knuckle ball to disturb the woodwork of Upul Tharanga for just 5.
Dilshan Munaweera came out firing and struck 2 fours and 2 sixes off the first 6 balls he faced. After 4 overs, the score raced off to 46/1 but Bumrah came back to castle Dickwella for 17. Munaweera kept going from the other end and took the score to 60/2 at the end of the powerplay.
Soon, Angelo Mathews became a victim of a lightning fast stumping by MS Dhoni off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal for just 7. Munaweera was unflustered and hammered Chahal for 2 sixes and a four in the 9th over. After 10 overs, Sri Lanka reached 90/3 and had a solid platform for a big score.
Munaweera brought up his maiden fifty in T20I cricket but was bowled by Kuldeep Yadav for 53 off 29 balls in the 12th over. The spinners then tightened the screws and kept a check on the scoring. Chahal removed Thisara Perera and Danus Shanaka in the 14th over to halt the score at 113/6 after 14 overs.
Kuldeep then went on to dismiss Seekkuge Prasanna in the 17th over that left the hosts reeling at 135/7. The early advantage seemed to have got wasted and Sri Lanka were in danger of falling short of a competitive target. Ashan Priyanjan was batting at 24 off 32 balls at that stage and he found inspiration from the new man Isuru Udana.
The duo collected 34 runs from the last 3 overs to take the side to a respectable 170/7 at the end of 20 overs. Chahal ended with figures of 43/3 from 4 overs but the pick of the bowlers was Kuldeep Yadav who bagged 2 wickets for just 20 runs from 4 overs.
India rocked back early
India’s chase began with Angelo Mathews giving away 12 runs from the 1st over. KL Rahul, who opened the batting alongside Rohit Sharma, looked in fine touch and hit a couple of boundaries early. Rohit perished in the 3rd over off Malinga’s bowling while looking to go for a big shot but only managed to hit that as far as the mid-on fielder.
The skipper Virat Kohli came in and batted cautiously at the start but his partner Rahul left him soon for 24. India were in a slight spot of bother at 43/2 after 6 overs. A brilliant catch from Shanaka brought hopes for the home side but the No.1 T20I batsman was still at the crease who had got his eye in.
Chase Master at work
It started with a handsome six over long-on that Kohli smashed to Prasanna in the 8th over and he never looked back from that point onwards. The skipper and Manish Pandey kept collecting 10 an over to bail the side out of trouble. Kohli was at his usual best and kept knocking the required runs down at the rate of knots.
The fifty-run partnership came up in the 12th over and soon, Kohli brought up his 17th fifty in T20Is off just 30 balls. The two batsmen calculated the chase perfectly and very quickly, the game went out of the hands of the Lankans. The score reached 128/2 after 14 overs.
Pandey played the perfect foil for his skipper and let him flourish at the other end and didn’t try to match him shot for shot. The century stand was notched up in the 16th over and India were cruising to the target. The bowlers were clueless against the magnificent Kohli who kept inching towards completing another perfect chase.
When India needed just 10 runs off 10 balls, Kohli departed in a bid to finish strong and held out on the long-on boundary. He left the field for a blistering 82 off only 54 balls that included 7 fours and a six. The inevitable happened soon and India went past the line with 4 balls in hand. Manish Pandey got to his maiden fifty with the winning boundary as the visitors completed a perfect whitewash across all formats.
India won the toss and opted to bowl first
Sri Lanka: 170/7 in 20 overs
Dilshan Munaweera 53, Ashan Priyanjan 40
Yuzvendra Chahal 43/3, Kuldeep Yadav 20/2
India: 174/3 in 19.2 overs
Virat Kohli 82, Manish Pandey 51*
Seekkuge Prasanna 25/1, Lasith Malinga 31/1
India won by 7 wickets
Player of the Match: Virat Kohli
Player of the Series: Virat Kohli