Sri Lanka did well to stretch India in the third and final T20 losing by five wickets at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. Having been put in to bat, Sri Lanka’s batting did not live up to expectations totalling 135 for 7 in 20 overs. The setback consequently saw India tightrope it to victory. The Sri Lankan bowlers fought back reducing India to 17 for 1, 2 for 39, 3 for 81 and 4 for 99, but the wall of runs was within the opposition’s reach with the steadying influence of skipper Rohit Sharma’s 27, M.K. Pandey’s 32 with K.D. Karthik on 18 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni on 16 finishing it on 139 for 5 off 19.2 overs. Dushmantha Chameera claimed 2 for 22 and Dasun Shanaka 2 for 27.
Once again the let down in the Sri Lankan batting was the inability of the specialist batsmen to come good and deliver adequate runs with the exception of Asela Gunaratne who top scored with 36 at a run a ball striking 3 boundaries. The next best was Dasun Shanaka who made an unbeaten 29 at No. 8 off 24 balls striking two sixes while the 22-year old new find Sadeera Samarawickrema chipped in with 21 off 17 with 3 boundaries. Significantly it was the only match in the series the all-round pinch hitter played in and pleasingly he underscored the fact that with more confidence building opportunity he was a player for the future. His 2 for 27 when India batted further echoed that fact. Sri Lanka’s top three batmen’s failure to come good was reflected by the compounding bottleneck of mind set in negotiating bad situations. The rut started from 1 for 8 with Niroshan Dickwella’s wicket, 2 for 14 Kusal Janith Perera, and 3 for 18 Upul Tharanga. J.D. Unadkat picked 2 for 15 and H.H. Pandya 2 for 25.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-