AFP
AFP

Dilshan Munaweera and Ashan Priyanajn were the only repellants in an otherwise ordinary batting display. Such was their force that Sri Lanka registered 170 for 7, in the only T20 against India, at R Premdasa Stadium in Colombo

Had it not rained, Sri Lanka would have gathered more runs. The track is hard, and the batters have been waiting for the feast, for the format that celebrates the lighter side of the game. However, the damp outfield played spoilsport.

The Indian pacers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, rolled their fingers over the ball right from the start. They had sensed a counterattack, and change in pace was the only mode of defence. That, or anything, did not bother Niroshan Dickwella. He flicked Bumrah s off-cutter, followed by a scoop and then another scoop. Sri Lanka were on the move and in the very second over.

Upul Tharanga tried to emulate his rampaging partner, but Bhuvneshwar s knuckle ball pierced through Sri Lankan captain s defence, and India drew first blood.

Virat Kohli introduced his RCB comrade, Yuzvendra Chahal, before the powerplay. With Hardik Pandya injured, Kohli had to hold his pacers back for the death. The ploy, all the same, backfired. Dilshan Munaweera launched consecutive sixes, and collected 14 runs off the over.

However, the plot kept changing. Dickwella, in a bid to score quick runs, played an uncharacteristic stroke, as Bumrah uprooted the off-stump with a full delivery.

Very soon MS Dhoni took the bails off in a flash to leave Angelo Mathews stumped. It was another encore of his brilliant glove work. Sri Lanka were 62 for 3 in 6.3 overs.

Amidst this, Munaweera had already had the spectators on their feet, bringing up his half-century in a mere 26 balls the second fastest for Sri Lanka. He, as has been the script this evening, fell and became Kuldeep Yadav s first victim.

Sensing Sri Lanka s haste, Kohli brought Chahal back in the attack, and the leg-spinner dismissed Thisara Perera and Dasun Shanaka in the same over, ending with a three-wicket haul.

Ashan Priyanjan, playing in his first T20I, rose to the challenge and provided late blitz. His 40-run heroic powered the feeble Sri Lankan to a challenging total. He ended proceedings with a six and a four in the ultimate over of the innings.

Brief scores:

India 170 for 7 (Dilshan Munaweera 53, Ashan Priyanjan 40*; Yuzvendra Chahal 3 for 43 vs Sri Lanka.

Full scorecard