Akila Dananjaya (M) rattled India at Pallekele    AFP
Akila Dananjaya (M) rattled India at Pallekele AFP

From 109 for no loss, India were reduced to 131 for 7 in pursuit of 231 (revised target in 47 overs) in the second ODI versus Sri Lanka at Pallekele. The sudden collapse was triggered by Akila Dananjaya‘s maiden five-wicket haul. Nonetheless, India managed to scrap through hosts courtesy an unbeaten 100-run stand between MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Following another defeat, Sri Lanka’s interim coach Nicholas Pothas termed the loss “frustrating”, but is happy for Dananjaya. He claims his performance wasn’t the ‘worst honeymoon present’ after all.

“It is frustrating. When you are not winning games regularly, it is quite hard to get the momentum back again. It’s a classic isn’t it. You are trying to win a game. You are on top of it and then the ball goes though someone’s leg and hit the stumps and bails don’t come off,” said Pothas, referring to the 35th over of Indian innings wherein Dhoni missed a flick off Vishwa Fernando and the the ball ricocheted onto the stumps, but bails weren’t unmoved.

Pothas complimented visitors’ deep batting line-up and appreciated Dananjaya’s efforts, who came in and performed a day after his marriage. “Obviously a disappointing night for us. Credit should go to India and it shows how much depth they have got in that squad. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar) played brilliantly and (MS) Dhoni did what he does best. One of the calmest characters under pressure. We are obviously disappointed. On the positive side, Dananjaya bowled really well and we are happy for him. Not the worst honeymoon present to have”, added Pothas.

Many termed it a tactical blunder from Upul Tharanga to keep Dananjaya’s 2 overs in the bank when he had bowled 8 on trot and turned the game single-handedly. As a result, this led to a fruitful stand between Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar, and the duo took the game by the time Dananjaya was reintroduced into the attack. On this ploy, Pothas concluded, “I will ask the captain. The captain on the field has a gut feeling on what to do. How he is going to use his bowlers. Upul (Tharanga) would have kept him back hoping for a wicket. Once we speak to Upul at the end of the day we will get to know better.”