Kolkata: Deepak Chahar showed the versatile talent in him as India emerged from a sticky spot to tame Sri Lanka by three wickets in a thriller to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the international three-hour series one-day matches. The third one-dayer, now of academic interest, will be played on Friday.
An undefeated 77-point partnership for the eighth wicket between Chahar (69 of 82 balls) and Bhubaneshwar Kumar (19 of 28 balls) took them to the line after losing a group of wickets and struggled at 193 for the loss of seven counters.
The Islanders, whose cricketers had been criticized in recent months for a string of tasteless performances while Cricket Sri Lanka had also been responsible for settling a protracted salary dispute, showed a disciplined approach and came close to embarrassing the dream team. By choosing to strike first, Dasun Shanaka’s young side showed that their first priority was to beat 50 overs to reach a difficult total of 275 for nine. Lower-order batsman Chamika Karunaratne hit an unbeaten 44 after Avishka Fernando (50) and Charith Asalanka (65) faced Indian bowling.
Pursuing the target, the Indian higher order took a cavalier approach with Prithvi Shaw (13) and Ishan Kishan (1) falling in thoughtless punches. Suryakumar Yadav, who marked his first half-century in his second ODI, was the top scorer with 53 of 44 balls, but India continued to lose wickets at regular intervals.
Earlier, leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and rhythm spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar each took three wickets while quick pitcher Chahar claimed two to put on a full show.
Fernando gave Sri Lanka a good start with a first stand of 70 points with goalkeeper-batter Minod Bhanuka, who made 36. Chahal broke through with two successive strikes, sending Bhanuka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa back for nothing.
Fernando continued the fight with his fourth half-century ODI and completed 47 runs with Dhananjaya de Silva for the third wicket. But the opener quickly fell on Kumar after his 50 out of 71 balls.
The bowlers fought back with mid-order wickets, but left-hander Asalanka attacked the opposition with a first ODI fifty in his fourth game.
Brief Notes: Sri Lanka 275 for nine wickets out of 50 overs (A. Fernando 50, M. Bhanuka 36, C. Asalanka 65; B. Kumar 3/54, D. Chahar 2/53, Y. Chahal 3/50) against India against India 277 for seven excluding 49.1 ov (S. Yadav 53, D. Chahar 69 not, K. Pandya 35; W. Hasaranga 3/37). India won by 3 wickets.