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SL vs IND, 3rd T20I Talking Points: Spin chokes India as Sri Lanka win series

Brief scores: India: 81/8 (Kuldeep Yadav 23*, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 16, Ruturaj Gaikwad 14; Wanindu Hasaranga 4/9) lost to Sri Lanka: 82/3 (Dhananjaya De Silva 23*, Minod Bhanuka 18, Wanindu Hasaranga 14*; Rahul Chahar 3/15) by 7 wickets

India’s wafer-thin batting line-up stood no match to the spin wizardry of the Lankan bowlers as the hosts managed to beat Team India for the second time in two days to seal the three-match T20 International series.

In the process, Sri Lanka, after waiting for almost 13 years, also got the better of India for the first time in a bilateral series in 21 attempts, with their last series win coming at home in August 2008. Leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga made a mockery of the Indian batters as he ran riot through his overs, picking up four wickets for nine runs. The depleted Indian side could only manage 81 runs in their quota of 20 overs, losing eight wickets in the process. Sri Lankan batsmen then chased the target comfortably, getting home with 33 balls and seven wickets to spare.

Let us take a look at the talking points from the match

Top order disaster

India’s top order put on probably the worst show in the series so far. Jolted early in the match with skipper Shikhar Dhawan’s dismissal for a nought, India never looked in the game after winning the toss and electing to bat first. Devdutt Padikkal struggled to get going against the spin and was eventually trapped in front of the wickets for a 15-ball 9. Wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson was the next to depart as he failed to read Hasaranga’s line and length and was trapped plumb in front of the wicket. Soon, Ruturaj Gaikwad suffered the same fate against the same bowler. Nitish Rana, meanwhile, looked off-beat and chipped an easy catch to bowler Dasan Shanaka.

Long tail unable to get going

Bhuvneshwar Kumar walked out to bat when India were four down and it seemed all would go downhill from there. Out to bat in the powerplay overs, Kumar had a rebuilding job in front of him. The 31-year-old, with spinner Kuldeep Yadav for company, showed resilience as the innings crawled forward. Although Kumar was dismissed late in the innings, Yadav continued to toil for runs as India finished the innings at 81/8, their lowest ever total in the format.

Chahar’s exploits gives India a false whiff

Rahul Chahar was always a good bet to have on a turning wicket and he did exactly that. Chahar’s leg breaks made the chase interesting as he took a return catch to dismiss Avishka Fernando in the final over of the powerplay in the second innings. The leggie then managed to get one past the bat of Minod Bhanuka, trapping him in front of his wicket. His third wicket came in the form of Sadeera Samarawickrama as the ball went on to clatter his off stump. With 3/15, Chahar ended the game with the second-best bowling figure, after Hasaranga’s exploits in the first innings.

No support for leggies as Kuldeep milked for plenty

With the pitch aiding turn, India needed Kuldeep Yadav and Varun Chakravarthy to make inroads like Chahar did. But Yadav was milked for plenty even as debutant Sandeep Warrier’s ploy to pitch in short backfired and Lankans managed to chip away with vital runs to take the pressure off.

Chahar did his best by striking once again off the final ball of his spell by castling Samarawickrama, but Sri Lanka had Dhananjaya de Silva to rescue them. He once again had a calming effect on the chase after having steered his side to victory just 24 hours ago.

Sri Lanka take it slow

The chase was always going to be straightforward for the Lankans, but given their poor record in recent times, they were understandably slow at the start of the innings. India, on the other hand, needed early wickets but they couldn’t manage that even though runs were hard to come by.

Rahul Chahar was the pick of the bowlers with his variations as he sent back three batsmen while conceding only 15 runs.

It was, however, birthday boy Hasaranga and the calm head of Dhananajaya de Silva that got together to once again take Sri Lanka home with utter ease. The latter was again the top scorer proving his excellent credentials to help the team snap their four-match losing streak in the format.

The Lankans reached home with more than five overs to spare with seven wickets in hand and finally, after innumerable losses, managed to win a bi-lateral series against India.

Covid bummer for series

The Covid-19 related isolation of nine Indian players affected the visitor’s team balance adversely with rookie Indian batsmen looking miserable with the ball not coming on to the bat.

The small target gave Sri Lanka the luxury to adopt a cautious approach against India. However, they, too, struggled against Indian spinners before overhauling the target with over 30 balls to spare, giving Sri Lanka their first-ever T20 series win over India.

Also Read: These Players Have Captained CSK Over the Years

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