Indian skipper Shikhar Dhawan, following defeat in the third ODI, rued his side’s performance in the middle overs, and claimed that team India were 50 runs short with the bat on a good batting wicket. Dhawan said that he was pleased to see as many as five players being handed deserved caps.
After snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the second ODI, India’s luck ran out on Friday as the visitors slumped to a three-wicket defeat to lose an ODI in Sri Lanka for the first time since 2012. For the first time in the series, India won the toss and batted first, but 225 was what they managed in a rain-curtailed innings as the batters failed to convert starts.
At 102/1, the visitors were in a strong position, but a flurry of wickets in the middle - 7 wickets between overs 16 and 33 - saw the Men in Blue not bat out their quota of 47 overs and get bowled out for a below-par score. The target was not daunting, and despite a mini stutter towards the end, Sri Lanka got home with 8 overs to spare to earn a consolation win.
Speaking in the aftermath of the defeat, Indian skipper Shikhar Dhawan admitted that his side lost the plot in the middle overs, claiming that they were 50 runs short.
“Things didn't go our way after rain break. We had a good start but lost too many wickets in the middle. Think we were 50 runs short,” Dhawan said.
The defeat, in many ways, did not come as a major surprise, as team India, having already sealed the series, handed debut caps to as many as five players. The experimentation did not pay off, but Dhawan asserted that he was pleased to see the younger players make their international debuts, having toiled in the bubble for so long.
“I am glad that they made their debut because everyone has been in the quarantine for a long time. So we had that opportunity today having sealed the series,” Dhawan said.
Though India posted a score below par, the bowlers did a fine job in keeping Sri Lanka in check. Rahul Chahar wreaked havoc in the middle and at 214/6, there was a mini-opportunity for India to pull off a heist, though it did not eventually materialize. Dhawan said that he was proud of the boys’ efforts, but insisted that he always knew that his side were 50 runs short.
“We were positive about defending the target but at the same time we knew we were 50 runs short. I am happy of the way the boys fought.”
The two teams will have a day off, post which they will lock horns in the first T20I on Sunday, July 25.