Thakur, Saini star as India draw first blood with facile Lanka win - GulfToday

Thakur, Saini star as India draw first blood with facile Lanka win

Thakur, Saini star as India draw first blood with facile Lanka win

India’s KL Rahul in action against Sri Lanka during their second Twenty20I match in Indore on Tuesday. Associated Press

All-round India ticked all the boxes on Jasprit Bumrah and Shikhar Dhawan’s return to international cricket and swept Sri Lanka aside by seven wickets to take 1-0 lead in the second T20 international at the Holkar Stadium here on Tuesday.

The first match in Guwahati was called off without a ball being bowled due to rain and damp pitch. Virat Kohli and his boys will now look to seal the series in the final match of the series in Pune on Friday.

Chasing a reasonable 143 for victory, Kohli (30 not out) smashed a six in the 18th over to seal the deal for the rampaging hosts with 15 balls to spare.

KL Rahul scored 45, Shreyas Iyer got 34 and the returning Shikhar Dhawan made 32 as India never really looked in any sort of trouble after their bowlers fired in unison to keep the Lankans in check.

The two openers, vying for the second opener’s slot along with Rohit Sharma for the World T20 later this year, got India off to a solid start. Rahul looked good, hitting six fours before his ambition got the better of him as leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga cleaned him up with a delivery wide of the crease in the 10th over.

Dhawan followed suit soon, trapped in front by Hasaranga which was confirmed by a successful review after the umpire ruled the southpaw not out.

Shreyas Iyer, promoted to No. 3, and Virat Kohli then made short work of the remaining runs as the former took 17 off Hasaranga in the 16th over with the latter hitting Sri Lanka skipper Lasith Malinga for 16 in the next over.

Iyer was caught by Dasun Shanaka at square-leg off Lahiru Kumara, but it was all over for Sri Lanka by then as Kohli whipped a six over long leg off Kumara to win it in style with Rishabh Pant (1 not out) at the other end.

Earlier, the bowlers put up a good show with Navdeep Saini shining bright as India restricted Sri Lanka to 142/9. All eyes were on the returning Bumrah after India captain Virat Kohli decided to field first.

Shardul Thakur (3/23) was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts but it was Saini (2/18) who impressed the most while Kuldeep Yadav (2/38) also picked up two wickets.

For the Lankans, Kusal Perera top-scored with a 28-ball 34 (6x3).

In the last five overs, the visitors managed just 34 runs, losing four wickets as Shardul picked up three in quick succession.

Indo-Asian News Service

Brief scores: India 144 for 3 (Rahul 45, Iyer 34, Kohli 30*) beat Sri Lanka 142 for 9 (Kusal Perera 34, Thakur 3-23, Saini 2-18) by seven wickets

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