The Sri Lankans failed to compete in the Test and ODI series and both Indian and Sri Lankan fans were hoping that the Lankan Lions would come back roaring in the 3 match T20 series. The Lankans won the toss in Cuttack and asked India to bat as they were concerned about the possible due factor that could impact their bowlers.
Indian Batting Line-up Fires In Cuttack
India lost captain Rohit Sharma early and the Lankans would have been happy to see him go back to the pavilion for just 17. Sharma has been a huge thorn in the Sri Lankan side and the Lankan bowlers were looking to run through a middle-order that is not very experienced.
However, the Indians showed a lot of grit as KL Rahul (61) played a magnificent innings which included 7 fours and 1 six. He received support from MS Dhoni and M Pandey who both remained unbeaten on 39 and 32 respectively. The Sri Lankans bowled poorly towards the end, giving away full tosses and conceding no-balls in the death overs that allowed India to get to a respectable 180 for 3.
Sri Lankan Batsman Have No Answers
Sri Lanka got off to a good start as U Tharanga showed great form and hit 23 runs in just 16 balls. R Sharma threw the ball to his leggie Y Chahal who has taken on the mantle of being India’s number one spinner in the ODI and T20 format.
Chahal had no qualms of bowling to a murderous Tharanga and although he was dispatched to the boundary twice in his first over, he was brimming with confidence. He picked up Tharanga in his first over and would then go on to run through the Sri Lankan batting line-up finishing with 4 wickets in his spell. His spin-twin K Yadav picked up two wickets while H Pandya came back to finish the tail and picked up 3 wickets. The Lankans were bowled out for 87 in what was another one sided contest.
The two young Indian spinners have combined well together and are now a very potential force in the shorter format.
In a statement, Chahal said “I got Tharanga out down leg and it started working form there. I was mixing up the googly and the legspinner, and varying my pace to the left-handers. You need to have variations. We’ve practiced with wet balls, and the wicket was turning, so we just bowled accordingly. I enjoy Kuldeep’s bowling and he enjoys mine.”
India will look to close out another series victory on Dec 22 when they play Sri Lanka in the second T20 at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore.