India, thanks to a remarkable stand between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar, won the second ODI against Sri Lanka, and their calculations and approach left Shikhar Dhawan impressed. However, he added that the game was a good learning curve for the youngsters that every day isn't the same.
When India lost Suryakumar Yadav, they still needed a mammoth 116 runs with only four wickets in hand. Though Krunal Pandya was in the middle, his struggles made the win look like a distant dream. And expectedly, he perished with India needing 83 and just three wickets in hand. But then Deepak Chahar (69*) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19*), known for their swing bowling, swung the game on its head and stitched together an 84-run eighth-wicket stand to help India to memorable win from the jaws of defeat.
They not only won the game but also the series, attaining an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series. Sri Lanka continued their dry run at home against India, which has now stretched to a 10-game losing streak in the last nine years. On the other hand, for India, it was the first instance in the last six years, when they chased down a target of 250+ without a 50+ score from the top-order. Reflecting on the win, a delighted Shikhar Dhawan, in the post-match presentation, praised Bhuvi and Chahar.
"We knew that Chahar has worked hard in the nets on his batting. His presence of mind and calculations against the leg-spinner was amazing. Both Bhuvi and him calculated it really well," Dhawan stated after the win.
Cricket is a game of great contrasts. While the first ODI saw India hammering the hosts with 80 balls to spare, in the second ODI, they had to battle it out till the final over to get over the line. The fearless approach of the youngsters also backfired this time around. Dhawan stated that it's a good learning curve for the young players that no two days are the same. He also felt the wicket was good to bat today.
"It felt that the wicket today was much better and we restricted them to a good score. The spinner fought back and the bowlers adjusted their lines and lengths when their batsmen were in. We didn't start well and it is a good learning lesson for the youngsters that everyday is not the same. They will understand how to handle these situations and how to bring in new strategies. Every game is a learning lesson and we hope to analyze and get better. We want to put up a good show all the time."
While India's top-order failed to put up a good show, there was a time when the victory looked well within reach when an effortless Suryakumar Yadav and a determined Manish Pandey were batting smoothly in the middle. However, things changed with the unfortunate run-out of Pandey and there was a mini-collapse that saw India going from 115 for 3 to 160-6. The Indian captain felt Pandey was unlucky, at the same time, he applauded Krunal for his fight against the bouncer barrage by Sri Lanka.
"The way Manish Pandey and Suryakumar were batting, we thought they would take us home. Hard luck to Pandey for the way he got out. The way Krunal fought in the middle was amazing. Everyone showed character."
The Indian skipper also lavished praise on the hosts for a brilliant show.
"I felt the way Sri Lanka planned their innings in both their batting and bowling was amazing. The way they batted and fielded was good to watch. They worked hard, but glad that we are on the winning side."
In what turned out to be a close battle, Sri Lanka showed that they are no pushovers. The Lankan skipper lauded the team's efforts and stated that he's proud of them.
"I am really proud with the ways the boys played today. It was a really tough game. Credit to the Indians and especially Deepak, who took the game away from us. We started well again but lost several wickets in the middle overs. We shouldn't give them easy wickets and we need to bat better till the batting powerplay. Actually I didn't bowl for a while because there were enough bowlers, but I took a chance then after that."
The final ODI of the series will be staged at the same venue on July 23 before both sides meet in a three-match T20I series.