India lead 3-ODI series 1-0    AFP
India lead 3-ODI series 1-0 AFP

Those no-balls in the Extras column killed the drama in the last hour of an exhilarating ODI at Dharamsala. The culprit was Jasprit Bumrah, the same bowler who had inspired the Jaipur traffic police to create a billboard on no-ball-based, road-safety measure. He had then provided reprieve to Fakhar Zaman who scored hundred and pushed India to a large pit of defeat in the final of 2017 Champions Trophy. Bumrah later expressed disappointment via Twitter, and the billboard had to be taken off.

But, old habits die hard: Bumrah bowled a no-ball when Sri Lanka were 19 for 2 and he had Upul Tharanga caught in the slip cordon, defending a mere 113. Tharanga tried many a time to edge thereafter, but he succeeded when he raced to 49 and India had lost the plot. Sri Lanka eventually won the match by 7 wickets.

Bumrah bowled another no-ball. His bowling arm took the bails off during the time of delivery. Tharanga picked up a four off the free-hit for the consecutive time.

Another no-ball would have deprived India of another wicket. Thanks to Rohit Sharma’s field setting that Yuzvendra Chahal, at short mid-wicket, came in the line of camera. The other end was blocked by the non-striker. Third Umpire relied on the stump camera to deduce it as a legal delivery. Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed Lahiru Thirimanne for a duck.

India 29 for 7

Fortune eluded Rohit on his captaincy debut. It was not entirely his fault. Sri Lanka sucked the life out of the India batters, tremendously swinging the ball and pitching where they should have in the Test series. Such trouble India were in that they lost 7 wickets for 29. The first five batters scored 11 runs between them, of which three wickets belong to Suranga Lakmal. Hardik Pandya lifted India’s mood with crisp boundaries, but he too crashed in the trap of swing-bowling, and the chances of Bhuvi escaping the storm were bleak. MS Dhoni was stranded with Kuldeep Yadav, staring at India’s lowest total of 54 in the format.

Dhoni played most deliveries, keeping Kuldeep off the strike. The track by then had eased off. Dhoni took on the Sri Lankans and broke the momentum. Kuldeep joined the act and played few delightful strokes through both sides of the wicket. Sri Lanka, however, throttled India’s momentum. Kuldeep departed after adding 41 runs with Dhoni.

Dhoni rushed through the gears. He hit two attractive sixes the best being the drive over deep extra-cover. In the process, Dhoni completed 16,000 international runs. He departed when he was left with Chahal and had to use the long handle. In all, he added 83 runs with the last three batters, also scoring his 101st fifty. Lakmal finished with 4 wickets for 13 runs from his 10 overs.

Brief scores:

India 112 (MS Dhoni 65; Suranga Lakmal 4 for 13) lost to Sri Lanka 114 for 3 (Upul Tharanga 49; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1 for 42) by 7 wickets.

Full scorecard