IND vs SL, Nidahas T20I tri-series: Kusal Perera sparkles as India succumb to a five-wicket defeat

Sri Lanka overcame India in the first game of the Nidahas T20I tri-series by five wickets at Colombo on Tuesday. Chasing 175 to win, Kushal Perera smashed 66 off 37 balls to set the tone as the hosts started their campaign on a winning note with nine balls to spare. 

IND vs SL, Nidahas T20I tri-series: Kusal Perera sparkles as India succumb to a five-wicket defeat
Kusal Perera made 66 off 37 balls to steal the game away from India. (AFP)

Sri Lanka overcame India in the first game of the Nidahas T20I tri-series by five wickets at Colombo on Tuesday. Chasing 175 to win, Kushal Perera smashed 66 off 37 balls (4x6s, 6x4s) to set the tone as the hosts started their campaign on a winning note with nine balls to spare. 

India got rid of Kusal Mendis through Washington Sundar in the second over but after that Perera took full control of the chase. He flayed Shardul Thakur for 27 runs - second highest for an Indian bowler in T20Is - in what was the third over of the innings and put the hosts on course. The second-wicket 58-run partnership off 21 balls between Perera and Danushka Gunathilaka (19) by all means changed the complexion of the game.

India tried to get back into the game through two wickets of Yuzvendra Chahal and another by Sundar but with no scoreboard pressure bothering them, the Sri Lankans faced little difficulty in getting over the line. The unbeaten sixth-wicket 39-run stand between Thisara Perera (22) and Dasun Shanaka (15) sealed the win for the Sri Lankans.    

Earlier in the day, India were put into bat by Sri Lanka on what appeared a batting friendly surface at Colombo. 

India got off to a bad start as Dushmantha Chameera removed captain Rohit Sharma for a duck off the fourth ball of the first over. The bowler had Jeevan Mendis plenty to thank as Mendis ran back from mid-off to finish a nice diving catch in the long-off area.

Raina (1) joined Rohit in the dugout shortly after as he missed a straight full toss by Nuwan Pradeep and saw his stumps rattled. India needed a good partnership at this stage and opener Shikhar Dhawan and Manish Pandey provided it. 

Both added 95 runs off 64 balls to put India on course for a big total. After Pandey fell to Mendis for 37, Dhawan, who had scored his fifth T20I fifty, carried on and went on a six-hitting spree. The way he was batting it appeared it won't be long before he got his first century in the shortest format of the game. Dhawan, however, fell to Gunathilaka after scoring 90 off 49 balls and hitting six sixes and six fours. 

After Dhawan got out, the Sri Lankans bowlers checked Indian batsmen Rishabh Pant (23) and Dinesh Karthik (13*) a little but 14 runs in the last over bowled by Chameera meant India finished strong at 174/5. Pant fell off the last ball of the innings as Chameera returned 2/33.

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