Defending 132, India took the game to the last over, but Sri Lanka’s Dhananjaya de Silva kept his cool to take his team home.
Sri Lanka have defeated India in the second T20I to level the series and take it into the decider. It was a low-scoring thriller in Colombo as things went down the wire on the low and slow pitch. But Sri Lanka had a calm and cool Dhananjaya de Silva in the middle who got the better off the inexperienced bowlers of the visitors to take his team home in a must-win game.
Earlier, India got off to a sedate start with their new opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Both the batsmen looked comfortable facing the new ball but soon Sri Lanka got hold of the pitch taking the pace off. The spinners were introduced into the attack and the pitch started turning to surprise the batsmen. Gaikwad, in the process to up the ante, got out to the opposition skipper Dasun Shanaka.
Devdutt Padikkal looked calm and composed in his debut game while Dhawan played more of an anchor’s role with not many batsmen to follow. The Indian skipper rotated the strike for the most part of his innings and by the end of the 12th over, India were sitting pretty at 81/1.
Dhawan was set for a big score, however, his big heave off Akila Dananjaya went wrong and was castled on 40 off 42 balls. From here on, India could never up the ante in the innings. Sri Lanka’s spinners strangled the opposition batsmen with their variations. The slow pitch and turn along with bounce led to India not managing to score quick runs.
Eventually, the visitors could only reach 132 runs for the loss of five wickets and even that score was due to India’s number six Bhuvneshwar Kumar who played a few shots in his unbeaten 13-run cameo. Sri Lanka used eight bowlers including four spinners and all of them did a perfect job for the team.
Indian spinners too good for Sri Lanka
With the pitch getting slower and the ball turning square, the chase was never going to be easy for Sri Lanka. Moreover, India had three spinners in their line-up to go with three more pace bowling options as well. It started well for the visitors as Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed Avishka Fernando in the third over itself.
As expected, the spinners were introduced into the attack very early in the innings and the runs were squeezed soon. Sadeera Samarawickrama and the Sri Lanka skipper Shanaka didn’t score much but ate up too many deliveries. At 55/3, it seemed as if the opener Minod Bhanuka will take the team to the safe waters as he was set. The left-hander was also dropped but soon he was holed out in the deep.
Nevertheless, he was impressive during his 31-ball 36. With Sri Lanka at 66/4 in the 12th over, things were precariously placed for Sri Lanka and this is when they got a sparkling partnership between Dhananjaya de Silva and Wanindu Hasaranga. The 28-run stand brought the hosts fairly back into the game but Rahul Chahar broke it dismissing the latter as things got close.
Going into the last three overs, De Silva was the key for Sri Lanka while India placed faith in the youngster and debutant Chetan Sakariya as 28 runs were needed. Sakariya displayed his brilliant variations keeping cool and got the wicket of Ramesh Mendis while conceding only 8 runs to bring the equation down to 20 off two overs.
The 19th over was brilliant for Sri Lanka as Chamika Karunaratne hit the all-important six to churn out 12 runs as they needed eight runs in the final over with Sakariya being handed the ball to defend. However, the hosts had a set batsman in De Silva who batted superbly and most importantly, kept his cool to take his team in a tense finish.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
Well Tried, India. Plenty of lessons for tomorrow. Better execution.
Well won Sri Lanka. Backed their better bowling, Out bowled India and de Silva closed it well.
— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) July 28, 2021
Despite the loss, we can still be proud of the fighting spirit Indian team showed today. They almost defended a small target. #SLvsIND
— R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) July 28, 2021
Congratulations SL. Deserved to win. Great effort from India to give a tough fight after making so many changes in their XI. Tight game. All to play for tomorrow #SLvIND
— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) July 28, 2021
Almost pulled off a victory with these many players missing. Indian cricket’s depth is at an all-time high. #INDvSL
— Saurabh Somani (@saurabh_42) July 28, 2021
Well fought, #TeamIndia 🥺💙
Not much in our control before the game, but kudos to our bowlers to have made a match out of this 🤜🤛
We’ll be back tomorrow as 🇮🇳 try to take the series win 🙌#SLvIND
— Delhi Capitals (Stay Home. Wear Double Masks😷) (@DelhiCapitals) July 28, 2021
— Dr. Gill 2.0 (@ikpsgill1) July 28, 2021
Absolute relief for Sri Lanka! It was the sheer brilliance of Dananjaya, Hasaranga and that man Chamika Karunaratne that got them over the line. Congratulations to them.
— Roshan Abeysinghe (@RoshanCricket) July 28, 2021
India fought so hard, with 9 players in isolation, 4 debutants and still made it close, one game left which will be played tomorrow. This is going to be a thrilling end.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) July 28, 2021
Sri Lanka eke out hard fought win against a weak Indian side. Bowlers did their best, but 132 meagre score to defend even on a sluggish pitch. With only 5 batsmen in the side, India’s hopes rested on top order for runs. Samson, Padikkal, Gaekwad, Rana spurned opportunity
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) July 28, 2021
India never had enough. Too much inexperience. Hopefully will overcome the short comings tomorrow. Hope for a good game. https://t.co/QSy9rJ2aIj
— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) July 28, 2021
Daniel bhai tonight after SL managed to beat India D team: https://t.co/3ne3zPqnua
— Manya (@CSKian716) July 28, 2021
Sri Lanka against India in last 14 T20Is :
W L L L N/R L W L L L L L L L#SLvIND
— CricTracker (@Cricketracker) July 28, 2021
Irrespective of the result, we must appreciate the way this team fought tonight. Let’s cross the final hurdle tomorrow and get the series 👊🏼#SLvIND
— Sumeet Rajpal (@Meet_Rajpal) July 28, 2021
Weary pitch and weak team are the reasons for T20 loss today. Today we had just 5 batsmen and no allrounder where as Srilanka batting strength ran deep with few all rounders. Our batsmen tried to be defensive since they had only 5. No intent to hit. Toss helped SL! #INDvSL
— idlebrain jeevi (@idlebrainjeevi) July 28, 2021