India collapse to give Sri Lanka win
Praveen Jayawickrama picked up 3 for 59. (AFP/Getty Images)
Praveen Jayawickrama picked up 3 for 59. (AFP/Getty Images)

(ESPNCRICINFO) – Sri Lanka spinners ripped through India’s middle order after a long rain break, taking five wickets in the space of 38 runs, to knock the wind out of India’s innings.
Then, chasing 227 in 47 overs, opener Avishka Fernando compiled a mature 76 off 98 balls to put Sri Lanka on the brink of victory. There were some middle-order jitters, but the 109-run second-wicket partnership Fernando had put on with Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who hit 65 off 56, had made enough ground to eventually see the hosts clamber to their second ODI win of the year.
The winning runs were hit with three wickets and 48 balls to spare, earning Sri Lanka 10 valuable ODI Super League points. They move to 11th on the table. Only the first seven teams gain automatic qualification.
India, fielding as many as five debutants, and having made six changes to the side that sealed the series on Tuesday, were, for a change, the team that made the most mistakes. In addition to losing wickets in a heap, there were poor reviews, and at least three dropped catches.

They had had one good partnership, between Prithvi Shaw and Sanju Samson, which was worth 74, but none of their batsmen hit a half-century in relatively good batting conditions.
With what was essentially a third-string attack on show for India, the bowling lacked the menace the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Deepak Chahar provided earlier in the series. Although Rahul Chahar’s leg-spin caused problems late in his spell, precipitating the fall of four Sri Lanka wickets for 26 runs, they were always struggling to derail the chase.
It wasn’t easy for hosts however. It fell to No. 7 Ramesh Mendis and No. 9 Akila Dananjaya to complete the victory. If Shikhar Dhawan had taken a tough chance off Rajapaksa on 32, or if Shaw at slip had held on to a chance off Mendis first ball, there was a chance panic could have overtaken the Sri Lanka dressing room.
Earlier, India had been scorching a path to a total in the range of 300 when the rains arrived. They had been 147 for 3 after 23 overs, with Suryakumar Yadav quickly warming to his work, Manish Pandey batting alongside him.

But Sri Lanka’s spinners suddenly appeared much more threatening after the 100-minute interruption. Pandey edged debutant Praveen Jayawickrama behind in the 25th over, then Hardik Pandya was given out lbw (upon review) against the same bowler, in the 29th.
Dananjaya then took over, finding purchase with both his off-break and the legbreak. He had Yadav lbw for 40 off 37 then K Gowtham lbw as well, the batter missing a full toss. Later in that same over, when Rana sent an outside edge to the keeper, India had been reduced to 195 for 8.
The spinners took three wickets apiece, Dananjaya giving away only 14 runs off his last five overs, after his first five had gone for 30. Chamika Karunaratne and Dushmantha Chameera then came back into the attack to bounce out the tail, and have India all out at the start of the 44th over.
Sri Lanka lost Minod Bhanuka in the sixth over of the chase, but Fernando played a restrained innings, hitting only the bad balls away, and taking few of his usual risks even inside the powerplay. Rajapaksa lived more dangerously, once inside-edging Hardik Pandya past the keeper while on 20, but also produced some beautifully timed boundaries, sometimes making room or coming down the track to blast the spinners.

With Rajapaksa on the attack, Fernando settled into a rhythm of taking singles and twos into the outfield, gradually advancing his score, and reaching his second half-century of the series off the 53rd ball he faced. Rajapaksa brought up his maiden ODI fifty with a reverse-swept boundary off Chahar in the 20th over. He was out not long after, caught at fine leg off Chetan Sakariya, but had made a valuable – if streaky – contribution.
The only other partnership of note in the match had been between Shaw and Samson. India had set off quickly during the powerplay, and despite the loss of Dhawan, had been 66 for 1 after 10 overs. Early in the middle overs, the batting pair were intent on putting the spinners under pressure. Shaw, for example, struck three fours in four balls in Jayawickrama’s third ODI over.
Their aggression also contributed to their downfall, however. Shaw was out for a run-a-ball 49 when he missed a leg-side shot against Dasun Shanaka, and Samson came down the track attempting to hit Jayawickrama inside out and was caught at cover for a run-a-ball 46.


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