On a day that once again saw the Indian juniors and seniors play out important deciders, while the Indian youngsters faltered, the seniors ensured that the Indians ended the day on a high.
The Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and put the Lankan to bat first. The decision worked great in favour of the Indians, as Ravichandran Ashwin ripped through the Lankan openers Niroshan Dickwella and Tillakaratne Dilshan sending them both back to the pavilion in the first over itself. Three more wickets – two picked by Ashwin and one by Ashish Nehra – within the sixth over saw half the Lankan side back in the dressing room, with the scorecard reading only 21 runs.
Dasun Shanaka and Seekkuge Prasanna then tried to pick up the pace of the tottering Lankan batting propping up a painstaking partnership of 27 runs for the sixth wicket. But just as it seemed that the Lankans would regain their balance in the match, Prasanna was run-out by Jadeja in the eighth over. Almost three over and six runs later, it was Shanaka, who lost his wicket to Jadeja for 19 runs. Thisara Perera and Sachithra Senanayake then established an 18-run stand for the eighth wicket, before Suresh Raina ended it by picking Senanayake’s wicket for eight runs in 15.4 overs. Two balls later, Raina had his second wicket that of Perera for 12 runs. Dushmantha Chameera and Dilhara Fernando tried to pick the pieces in the end and managed to push the score to 82 before Jasprit Bumrah struck the final nail on the team’s batting coffin, in the final ball of the 18th over.
Ashwin finished off with 4/8 in his quota of four overs, while Suresh Raina finished off with figures of 2/6 in the two overs he bowled. Dasun Shanaka was the highest run-getter for Sri Lanka with 19 runs, while Thisara Perera was the second highest run-getter with 12 runs.
Needing 83 to win, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma wasted no opportunities to tear into the Lankan bowling. Dhawan was especially the more ruthless of the two, and while Chameera achieved a breakthrough by picking Sharma’s wicket for 29 in the sixth over, it was a paltry consolation.
Ajinkya Rahane and Dhawan then carried forward the Indian innings, with the latter hitting the winning boundary in the penultimate ball of the 14th over to get a nine-wicket win in the match, and a 2-1 series win.
For his impeccable run in this match and throughout the series, R. Ashwin was acknowledged as both player of the match and series. With this series win, India also maintained its place at the top of the ICC T20 team rankings.