Team India hammered Sri Lanka at Indore on Friday    AFP
Team India hammered Sri Lanka at Indore on Friday AFP

Sri Lanka came out all guns blazing (sorry for the over-used phrase) in pursuit of 261 in the second T20I at Indore. Nonetheless, they were always playing ‘catch-up’ and folded for 172 all-out in 17.2 overs. As a result, India have claimed the T20I series, turning Wankhede’s match a dead rubber. Earlier, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul’s hurricane 165-run opening stand proved too much to handle for Sri Lanka. Rohit slammed his second T20I ton joint-fastest as he equalled David Miller and Rahul scored 89 to propel the score to 260 for 5.

Niroshan Dickwella played a dilscoop off the first ball of the chase. Just like Russell Arnold in the commentary box, Sri Lankans had enough of India’s hammering. They wanted to give (some) it back to the Indian bowlers on the flattest of wicket at Holkar stadium. Dickwella perished, playing a barrage of shots, for a 19-ball 25. Jaydev Unadkat got rid of the left-hander on successive occasions.

Upul Tharanga and Kusal Perera showed a lot of intent. Sri Lanka ended at 102 for 1 in ten overs. They still required 159 off 60 balls, but the duo kept hitting everything out of the ground. Perera, in particular, attacked Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The left-hander made the spinners pay for dropping it full. He played too many sweep shots and cleared the field. As a result, Chahal and Kuldeep’s combined first five overs leaked 75 runs.

However, in the 13th over, Tharanga’s leading edge led to a return catch for Chahal. Since then, the script fell completely in India’s grasp. Thisara Perera, promoted to No. 4, went on the first ball. He hoicked one towards long off to be dismissed for nought. Indian spinners, by then, had realised to bowl slower rather than darting it fuller and wide outside off stump.

With plenty to chase, Kusal (Perera) had no option but to keep up with the run-rate. He pulled and swept with purpose before perishing for a 37-ball 77. The rest of the line-up did what they have done so far nothing. From 142 for 1, they were reduced to 172 all-out (Angelo Mathews did not bat due to hamstring injury. He has been ruled out of the dead rubber).

Earlier, India bludgeoned Sri Lanka to 260 for 5 in 20 overs.

Rohit and Rahul commenced the innings by finding gaps at regular intervals. The duo found the boundaries at will and played proper cricketing shots, the feature being timing and power. What stood out in their (India’s record opening partnership for first wicket) stand was hitting straight down the ground. Rohit went berserk after the fourth over smashing 4 successive boundaries off Asela Gunaratne. He also pulped his counterpart Thisara Perera for four consecutive sixes. Rahul followed suit. He took on the spinners and lashed onto anything outside off stump.

India settled for 260 for 5, and thereby making Holkar their batting fortress. They now have their highest ODI and T20I score at the same venue.

Brief scores

India 260 for 5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 118, KL Rahul 89, MS Dhoni 28; Thisara Perera 2 for 49) vs Sri Lanka 172 all-out in 17.2 overs (Upul Tharanga 47, Kusal Perera 77; Yuzvendra Chahal 4 for 52, Kuldeep Yadav 3 for 52) by 88 runs.

Man of the Match: Rohit Sharma