The exhausted Indian team, which played with just five strikers, could not defend a modest 133-goal despite the brave efforts of its players as Sri Lanka held a three-game streak alive with a four-door win at the second T20 International on Wednesday here.
With nine players unavailable after Krunal Pandya was positive, India had no choice but to play with six specialized bowlers, including one Pacer Navdeep Saini, who didn’t get a single advantage.
Dhananjaya de Silva (40 did not drop out) led a tricky hunt in Lanka after India scored 132 for five. The hosts won with two balls in abundance.
Deputy captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/21 in 4 overs) was frugal until Chamika Karunartne made a full throw for a six. 12 runs from that overt reduced the equation to 8 runs from the final overs which made it very difficult for debutant Chetan Sakari to defend.
If one bowler despite the 2/30 numbers will be annoyed is Kuldeep, who was brilliant but was let down by his players, who dropped several catches. Some bad efforts in the outer field also spoiled his figures.
Yadav outwitted rival skipper Dasun Shanaku by shortening the supply delivery time – the one that turns into a right-hander by pulling him out, and Sanja Samson made a clever kick to the leg.
Minod Bhanuka (36 of 31 balls) also tried to retrieve the widish ejected delivery outside the stump and broke out in the deep middle of the wicket just after Bhuvneshwar dropped one while running backwards while skiing one against a deflection in the coverage area.
Varun Chakravarthy (1/18 in 4 overs) was also impressive, but the overall score became their undo.
Earlier, India fought for momentum against Sri Lankan spinners on a slow track, succeeding 132 in five.
Debutant Devdutt Padikkal, however, in his short innings gave an insight into a bright future.
The degree of difficulty could be estimated by the fact that in 20 overs only seven limits and sixes were hit with as many as 42 balls consumed by the visiting strikers.
Captain Shikhar Dhawan (40 of 2 balls) aware of the subtle experience of striking lineups had a cautious approach on the track where the ball simply refused to come to the bat and improvisation was the order of the day.
With heavy rain slowing the outside field, running became a temptation, but young Padikkal (29 of 23 balls) was as elegant as usual before a moment of indiscretion killed him.
Ruturai Gaikwad’s second long-awaited debut (21 of 18 balls) also ended with a whine when Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanake’s short ball climbed on him and he tangled as he played a pull-shot that went straight up later for Minoda Bhanuku.
Knowing that he only plays five strikers a day, Dhawan had to reduce risk shots even though among his five fours before Dananjayae de Silva were shelter, on-drive and retreating behind the square (2/13) forced him to play slou-sweep.
But the man who impressed the most was Padikkal, who swept Dhanajaya de Silva by six, ran well between the gates during his 32 runs with skipper Dhawan and short with Sanja Samson.
He also turned Waninda Hasarang (1/30) by the limit before a non-existent move led to his downfall.
Some of his moves did not reach the limit, but the boy from Bengaluru showed that he has the temperament needed for the highest level.
But the player who took the opportunity once again was Sanja Samson (7 of 13 balls). He was tricked by breaking his leg by Akila Dananjaya (2/29) and was given a ball.
Samson has now blown nine chances at T20 Internationals and is unlikely to get too much after Thursday’s final game.
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