Sri Lanka won the second T20I by four wickets to take the series into decider.
Before coming into the second of the three T20Is against India, Sri Lanka had a solitary win in their last 14 completed ODIs. They have not been able to win any of their last five series in the shortest format and they were 0-1 down in the current series, with a ‘must-win’ sword hanging over their heads.
There are chances still that the five series might become six should they lose the decider on Thursday, but by registering a four-wicket win against a severely depleted Indian side, Sri Lanka have kept themselves alive and perhaps have the best chance to break their rut come Thursday. Not much has gone Sri Lanka’s way in the current series despite India fielding a unit without most of their regular stars, who are all in England for the upcoming five-Test series.
Amidst the roars of this being a second-string side, India was further depleted as they lost as many as nine members of their 25-man squad owing to Krunal Pandya contracting with Covid-19. While Pandya was immediately separated from the squad upon returning a positive result, the BCCI opted for the precautionary route of sidelining each one of his close contacts – eight in number – from the series, while they drafted the five net bowlers into India’s main squad for the remainder of the series.
With no less than four debutants in their Wednesdays XI in Colombo, India, known for their batting depth otherwise, had the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kuldeep Yadav batting as high number 6 and 7. Regardless of the situation in which the victory come for Sri Lanka, it meant to them and that was evident by a spirited celebration from a geed up Wanindu Hasaranga, who threw a bottle onto the ground immediately after Dhananjaya de Silva hit the winning runs.
India fought hard but Sri Lanka triumph
As for how the game progressed, a batting first India posted 132/5 on a sleepy Colombo track. India had contributions coming in from their new-look opening pair of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shikhar Dhawan, although the latter struggled to pace his innings, scoring 40 off 42 before being cleaned up by de Silva.
An 18-ball 21 from Gaikwad and 23-ball 29 from Devdutt Padikkal before Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s brief cameo propelled India past 130, but Sri Lanka had Minod Bhanuka and de Silva to lift most of the wight during the chase. Chasing only a touch over run-a-ball meant that even tiny bits of partnerships for each wicket was sufficient for Sri Lanka’s triumph, even though India managed to strike regularly and made them fight hard for each run.