India vs Sri Lanka | Hosts seal series after Lankans suffer humiliating collapse

India vs Sri Lanka | Hosts seal series after Lankans suffer humiliating collapse

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India completed the comeback, after being 1-0 down, to win the ODI series against Sri Lanka courtesy of a Shikhar Dhawan century. Earlier, Sri Lanka had got off to a great start thanks to Upul Tharanga (95), but after losing 7 wickets for just 55 runs, the visitors could only muster a score of 215.

Brief scores : Sri Lanka 215/10 (Upul Tharanga 95, Sadeera Samarawickrama 42; Kuldeep Yadav 3/42, Yuzvendra Chahal 3/46) lose to India 219/2 (Shikhar Dhawan 100*, Shreyas Iyer 65; Thisara Perera 1/25, Akila Dananjaya 1/48) by 8 wickets.

Keeping an eye on Vizag’s spinning-friendly pitch, India decided to go with chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who replaced the inexperienced Washington Sundar from the last game. Sri Lanka also came into the game with two spinners with the only change being Sadeera Samarawickrama replacing Lahiru Thirimanne. Winning the toss, Rohit Sharma asked the visitors to bat first considering the dew factor in the second innings.

Upul Tharanga gives Sri Lanka a robust start

Shikhar Dhawan had predicted Sri Lanka to come back stronger after the hosts were the dominant side in the last ODI in Mohali. Sri Lanka’s intent was quite clear and although they lost Gunathilaka in the fourth over, both Upul Tharanga and Samarawickrama kept charging the pacing duo. With the run rate hovering between 6 and 7 rpo, Sri Lanka reached the 50-run stand in only the ninth over, as Tharanga smashed Hardik Pandya for five consecutive boundaries. A change was needed and fast and Rohit Sharma decided to introduce Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal for the next six overs. Though spin decreased the boundaries, both the batsmen had settled in by now with Tharanga moving towards a quick-fire century and Sri Lanka looking at a mammoth target. However, the skipper kept faith in his spinners eventually did the trick in the 23rd over when Samarawickrama was caught at deep cover by Dhawan off a Chahal delivery. Sri Lanka were 145/2 at the halfway line with a dangerous looking Tharanga (86) batting alongside Angelo Mathews, who had come fresh from a century in last ODI.  

Sri Lanka succumb to an apocalyptic batting collapse

The deciding ODI of the series looked to be going Sri Lanka’s way with India running out of ideas as all five of their bowlers had bowled five overs each. India needed a break but none looked to be coming until the dangerous Tharanga (95) was stumped brilliantly by MS Dhoni in the 28th over, who waited till the last second to dislodge the bails. What followed next was a batting collapse of epic proportions as Niroshan Dickwella, Angelo Mathews, and Thisara Perera, all returned to the pavilion in the next eight overs adding just 42 more runs to the scoreboard. Immediately, the ghosts of the last couple of years came rushing back. After Perera’s dismissal, it was just a matter of time before Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, and Suranga Lakmal followed suit with Chahal and Yadav ending up claiming three wickets each. From 160/2 in the 27th over where Sri Lanka were looking to replicate India’s first innings total in Mohali, Sri Lanka had slumped to a paltry 215 runs with over four overs to go.

Iyer lights up Vizag with some impressive strokemaking 

Contrary to the expectations, Sri Lanka started the second innings with a Lakmal maiden before Thisara Perera handed the new ball to Akila Dananjaya, who gave away just four runs off the last ball of the over. Continuing from where he had left off in Mohali, Rohit went after Dananjaya sending his eighth delivery into the stands. However, the Sri Lankan exacted his revenge a couple of balls later after Rohit failed to read a googly and was bowled through his gate. Although Dhawan and Iyer took a few overs to consolidate the innings, they scored 35 runs in overs 9 through 12 to put the pressure right back on the visitors. Surprisingly, Dhawan took up the role of an anchor while Iyer picked up the run-scoring responsibility for the hosts. In the 16th over, the youngster brought up his fifty in just 44 balls -  30 of which came via boundaries. Dhawan brought up his fifty as well with a huge six over deep-midwicket as India reached 127/1 in 20 overs.

Dhawan and Karthik guide India home

Needing just 89 runs from 30 overs, the Indian duo continued to rotate strike well while putting the bad balls away. Sri Lanka might have hoped for a comeback of sorts when Iyer threw his wicket away in the 23rd over and within a space of two overs, both Dhawan and Karthik were saved by the third umpire. However, realizing that they had no reason to finish the game in a hurry, Karthik and Dhawan slowed their roll and started rotating the strike. Perrera even handed the ball to Mathews, who had conceded 12 runs in his only over, hoping that his experience could give them some straws to clutch at, but it wasn't meant to be as India upped the ante by counter-attacking. With Dhawan (100*) and Karthik (26*) still at the crease, India reached their target with over 17 overs to go, keeping their historic run at home going.

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