Dananjaya 6-fer insufficient for SL to beat India

Sri Lanka innings (toss: India, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored 4s 6s Strike rate
N Dickwella caught Dhawan, bowled Bumrah 31 (24) 3 2 129.16
D Gunathilaka stumped Dhoni, bowled Chahal 19 (37) 2 0 51.35
K Mendis leg before wicket Chahal 19 (48) 2 0 39.58
U Tharanga caught Kohli, bowled Pandya 9 (7) 2 0 128.57
A Mathews leg before wicket Axar 20 (41) 2 0 48.78
M Siriwardana caught Rohit, bowled Bumrah 58 (58) 2 1 100.00
C Kapugedera bowled Bumrah 40 (61) 2 0 65.57
A Dananjaya caught Axar, bowled Bumrah 9 (11) 1 0 81.81
D Chameera not out 6 (7) 0 0 85.71
V Fernando not out 3 (6) 0 0 50.00
Batsman who didn’t bat: L Malinga
Extras: 22 (11 wides , 10 leg byes and 1 bye)
SL’s total: 236/8 in 50 overs, at 4.72 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 41/1 (Dickwella, 7.4), 70/2 (Gunathilaka, 14.1), 81/3 (Tharanga, 15.6), 99/4 (Mendis, 23.3), 121/5 (Mathews, 28.3), 212/6 (Siriwardana, 44.6), 221/7 (Kapugedera, 46.6), and 230/8 (Dananjaya, 48.2)
India bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
B Kumar 10 0 53 0 5.30
J Bumrah 10 2 43 4 4.30
Y Chahal 10 1 43 2 4.30
H Pandya 5.2 0 24 1 4.50
A Patel 10 0 30 1 3.00
K Jadhav 4.4 0 32 0 6.85
India innings (DLS target: 231 runs in 47 overs, at 4.91 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored 4s 6s Strike rate
R Sharma leg before wicket Dananjaya 54 (45) 5 3 120.00
S Dhawan caught Mathews, bowled Siriwardana 49 (50) 6 1 98.00
L Rahul bowled Dananjaya 4 (6) 0 0 66.66
K Jadhav bowled Dananjaya 1 (3) 0 0 33.33
V Kohli bowled Dananjaya 4 (2) 1 0 200.00
MS Dhoni not out 45 (68) 1 0 66.17
H Pandya stumped Dickwella, bowled Dananjaya 0 (3) 0 0 0.00
A Patel leg before wicket Dananjaya 6 (9) 0 0 66.66
B Kumar not out 53 (80) 4 1 66.25
Batsmen who didn’t bat: J Bumrah and Y Chahal
Extras: 15 (14 wides and 1 leg bye)
India’s total: 231/7 in 44.2 overs, at 5.21 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 109/1 (Rohit, 15.3), 113/2 (S Dhawan, 16.3), 114/3 (Jadhav, 17.1), 118/4 (Kohli, 17.3), 119/5 (Rahul, 17.5), 121/6 (Pandya, 19.3), and 131/7 (Axar, 21.5),
Sri Lanka bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
L Malinga 8 0 49 0 6.12
V Fernando 6.2 0 32 0 5.05
A Mathews 3 0 11 0 3.66
D Chameera 7 0 45 0 6.42
A Dananjaya 10 0 54 6 5.40
M Siriwardana 10 0 39 1 3.90

Sri Lanka vs India 2nd ODI, match report

India extended their winning streak in Sri Lanka to five after registering an incredible three-wicket victory in the 2nd ODI to take a 0-2 lead in the five-ODI series. Akila Dananjaya, for taking 6/54 in 10 overs, was awarded the man-of-the-match despite his ending up on the losing side. 

The start of the Indian innings was delayed because of a shower and after a 75-minute delay, the match had to be reduced to 47 overs. India’s DLS target was 231.

The only negative of India’s victory in the first ODI was Rohit Sharma’s failure. And with the target being a small one again, Rohit had an opportunity to get back among the runs and use the lack of scoreboard pressure to his advantage. He was a touch edgy but played some delightful strokes too, off his Mumbai Indians’ team-mate Lasith Malinga and the likes of Vishwa Fernando and Angelo Mathews. Shikhar Dhawan played more comfortably and didn’t fail to make you go ‘wow’ with his strokeplay on the on and offside.

Usually, one among Rohit and Dhawan assume the aggressor’s role and find the boundary during the powerplay. On this night, Rohit, despite being edgy and surviving some close shaves, was the one who gave the Indian innings a head start by hitting the fours and sixes at regular intervals. And with Dhawan also having no problems in picking the gaps, India got off to the ideal start, scoring 68 in the first ten overs.

India’s tempo didn’t drop even after the first powerplay, as Rohit and Dhawan continued to harness the loose deliveries that they were being gifted with by the Sri Lankan bowlers. This pair brought up their 11th 100-run partnership in the 15th over. India, at 102/0, were cruising and the 2nd ODI seemed to be heading only one way.

But, totally out of the blue, the Lankan Lions roared back not just into this match but also the series, with Akila Dananjaya bamboozling the so-called “best players of spin” with a series of wrong-uns (googly). Rohit missed a straight delivery from Dananjaya in going for a slog sweep and was trapped plumb in front of the stumps. Thereafter, what we witnessed was extraordinary, to say the least.

An off-break bowler by name, Dananjaya spun a web around the Indian batsmen, flummoxing them in the air and beating them on the inside with googlies. Have you heard before of an off-break bowler bowling googlies? Well, one such bowler was on view here and it must have made for some fantastic viewing for the neutrals, while Dananjaya got the Sri Lankan fans dancing in delight with his unpickable googlies and the Indian batsmen falling to them one after another. The experience for the Indian fans was the exact opposite, as they were taken aback by the sudden and complete change to proceedings. Few other passages of play in cricket, in general, provide more excitement than when wickets tumble with the kind of regularity as they did here.

Rohit’s dismissal brought Sri Lanka the next six wickets in a heap and India slipped from 102/0 at the start of the 16th over to 131/7 in the 22nd over, a seven-over period which was all Dananjaya’s but for the wicket of Dhawan (49), who fell to Milinda Siriwardana. The 18th over of the Indian innings was the most sensational, with three wickets falling and in identical fashion, too: Kedar Jadhav went back to play the ball through the offside but the ball back into him after pitch and he was bowled through the gate; Kohli was the next one to have his furniture disturbed by Dananjaya, with his misreading the length of the delivery more than the variation and line, missing a straight, full delivery that cannoned into his stumps, and finally, Rahul also left a huge gap between his bat and pad, letting the googly sneak through and hit the stumps. Dananjaya was on cloud nine and the whole picture of the match had changed in a matter of five balls with the fall of these three wickets on 17.1, 17.3 and 17.5.

With just three wickets in hand and a hundred runs still to be scored, even though MS Dhoni was in the middle, the match was Sri Lanka’s to lose. But Rohit and Dhawan had given India a big cushion of balls in which to score 231, having scored 109 in 15.2 overs. So, even when India had plummeted to 131/7 in the 22nd over (21.5), they needed to score only at four runs per over.

This was, however, the ideal scenario for Dhoni, who has transformed from a power-hitter and a stroke-maker into a nudger, a grafter. He must have felt comfortable and the pressure of the situation at the same time because he was the last recognised batsman. But in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the former Indian captain had an ideal batting partner, someone who he was able to trust, willing to trust and end up reaping the rewards for “trusting”.

The Dananjaya overs had to be negotiated carefully, while Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar also had to be mindful of not taking the other bowlers lightly. A no-contest of a series had suddenly sprung into life, brought everyone onto the edge of their seats and the Indian players were under the pump.

For 91 balls, a boundary had not been hit and the runs came in singles and the odd two, as the focus was mostly on preserving the wickets and taking the match into its deep end. Dhoni had hit Siriwardana for a four on the second delivery of the 23rd over and not until over number 38 (37.3) did we see a boundary being hit. Bhuvneshwar, who had been extremely patient and weathered the storm, pulled out a full-blooded slog sweep against the spin of Siriwardana and hit an 87-metre six which broke the shackles for India and set them on their way to a memorable, hard-fought win.

They had needed 50 runs off 58 balls before Bhuvneshwar deposited Siriwardana over the mid-wicket boundary, but the next 44 runs came off the next 42 balls and India kept Sri Lanka win-less yet in this series. Having played second fiddle to Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar overtook him and finished with 53 (80 balls, 4×4 and 1×6), his maiden ODI half-century. Dhoni thrived in this pressure situation and saw India home with a 68-ball 45. Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar shared a 100-run eighth-wicket partnership to give India a three-wicket win.

When Sri Lanka reflect on this match, they will be sad that they couldn’t break the Dhoni-Bhuvneshwar partnership, but what will sadden the team management and the players more is the lack of discipline from all other bowlers apart from Dananjaya. Sri Lanka bowled as many as 14 wides, most of which came during the Dhoni-Bhuvneshwar partnership. Malinga, Chameera and Fernando failed to provide control, let alone breakthroughs when they were needed, and Dananjaya needed to take the three remaining wickets himself to clinch a victory for his team.

In the afternoon, Virat Kohli had won his fifth straight toss on this tour and once again put the hosts into bat.

Despite batting their full quota of 50 overs—they had failed to do so in the first one-dayer, batting only 43.2 overs— Sri Lanka managed to score just 20 runs more than what they made in Dambulla (236/8).

Niroshan Dickwella gave his team a fast start with a flurry of boundaries off India’s new-ball bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. His shots, the pick-up shot over mid-wicket and short-arm job (a half-pull), were typical of the Sri Lankan batsmen and he was able to give his team the early impetus once again.

But, as we had seen in the first ODI, what happens after the fast start is more important than the good start itself. And, as we suspected, Sri Lanka failed to make the good start count once again, allowing India to wrest control of proceedings.

Bumrah gave India the first breakthrough (Dickwella) and the Sri Lankan innings not only lost momentum but also went downhill from here on. Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis fell for 19 each, having consumed a lot of deliveries for their runs (a combined 38 runs off a combined 85 balls), Tharanga failed to provide solidity at No. 4 and the former captain, Angelo Mathews, also fell cheaply, trapped in front by Axar Patel. Though not as alarming as in the first ODI, Sri Lanka went from 41/0 at the start of the eighth over to 121/5 in the 29th over, the kind of slide that’s detrimental to a top-heavy batting line-up. After Dickwella fell in the eighth over and with the score at 41, the Islanders scored only at about four runs per over for the next 20 overs.

From this tight position, the Lankan Lions did not capitulate further but mounted a reasonable fight back through Milinda Siriwardana, who was one of the three changes for the home side for the 2nd ODI, and Chamara Kapugedera. Together, this pair put on 91 runs for the sixth wicket. They batted sensibly and despite not finding the boundaries, Siriwardana and Kapugedera maintained a good innings run-rate and put their team in a good position going into the final 10 overs (179/5). Sri Lanka were in sight of reaching 250 at least.

This pair added 33 more runs off the next five overs, but Siriwardana was dismissed for a run-a-ball 58 by Bumrah on the last ball of the 45th over and with the score at 212. Even from here, getting to 250 was very much possible, but Kapugedera failed to take charge of the proceedings and the Sri Lankan lower order too proved incapable of providing the final flourish, with just 24 runs coming off the final five overs.

For India, Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers, as he took 4/43 in his 10 overs. Yuzvendra Chahal, after a slightly underwhelming bowling performance in the first ODI, bowled an economical and a productive 10-over spell, taking 2/43, while Axar (1/30) and Hardik Pandya (1/24) took a wicket apiece.

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