The schedule of the series was changed due to a Covid case in the Indian camp. It was disheartening that Krunal Pandya got infected with Covid and due to that his 8 close contacts were also barred from taking the field. India just had 11 players left and with 6 bowlers and 5 batsmen, it was always going to be tough. Sri Lanka won the toss and put India to bat on a sluggish wicket that was under covers for a while due to rain.
The combination would have disturbed but Dhawan looked confident at the toss and said we are happy with the team we have got. There were 4 debutants for India in the match and in a match that could have sealed the series for India, they would certainly have not tried such a bizarre combination. This is what Covid has done to sports and every sporting body has learned to live with it.
India started really well as debutant Ruturaj Gaikwad played a handy little knock and India was on the top after the power play. Dhawan played a cautious knock as he scored 40 of 42. It was difficult going as the ball was sticking on the surface and some even called this pitch not suitable for a T20I wicket. Devdutt Padikkal had an impressive debut as he was looking good before he got out on 29. Sanju Samson came and started struggling. Missed a nice one from Dhananjaya and got out on 7.
Losing Padikkal and Samson in quick succession, but Sri Lanka on top. Nitish Rana and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a bit of a partnership but none of them could hit a single boundary as the boundary that came in the last 4 overs was 5 wides from Hasaranga. India finished with 132 on the board but with 6 bowlers, and a sluggish surface, the match was evenly poised.
Sri Lanka’s chase began with a bang as MinodBhanuka started off a flier as he scored 36 in no time and put Sri Lanka on top even after the early departure of his partner Avishka Fernando. Varun Chakravarthy got the better off Sadeera Samarawickrama and Kuldeep joined the action after getting better of Sri Lanka’s captain Dasun Shanaka on 3. Dhanajaya De Silva was the star of the night as he got an unbeaten 40 that helped Sri Lanka win the tight encounter. Navdeep Saini was not even asked to bowl and that was surprising. Chetan Sakariya bowled the first 2 overs well but leaked way too many in his third and it was from there that Sri Lanka managed to make a comeback in the match.
19th over sealed the deal for the Lankans as they needed just 8 off final over which they did in just 4 balls. Dhananjaya De Silva was given the Man of the Match award for his all-around performances. The final match will be played on 29th July and India doesn’t have a choice but to field the same 11 that took part in yesterday’s match.