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Pallekele: Ashok Dinda and Irfan Pathan took four and three wickets respectively to bowl Sri Lanka out for 116 after Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina had helped India put up 155 runs to hand India a comfortable 39-run win over the hosts in the one off T20 International on Tuesday.
The win came after India’s domination in the ODI series which they won 4-1.
It was a series Pathan (3/27) would never forget. It was a series which gave him a new lease of life. It has truly established him as an all-rounder. He got wickets and scored runs at crucial junctures. Most importantly, he got back his confidence as a bowler. He swung the ball well throughout the series. He continued his good show in this T20 match with the ball, claiming 3 wickets in his first three overs which ultimately broke the backbone of Sri Lankan batting.
He removed Dilshan in the very first over for a duck. His next victim was Upul Tharanga. But his most important prey was skipper Jayawardene, who was looking dangerous during his 26-run knock. The skipper had slammed 5 fours in his 19-ball knock.
Angelo Mathews tried hard then. He scored 31 to give a glimmer of a hope to the Lankan camp. But once he was removed by Ashok Dinda, Sri Lankan never looked to be in contention. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals as Indian bowlers bowled tightly. Ashok Dinda also got three wickets in the last to finish with 4/19.
Eariler in the day, Virat Kohli had made an entertaining 48-ball 68 but Sri Lankan bowlers bowled miserly in the last few overs to restrict the Indians to a not-so-impressive 155/3.
Raina tried hard to accelerate in the last over with 34 runs off 25 balls but failed to get that knock-out punch in the end. With Dhoni (16 off 14 balls) struggling to clear the ropes, India did not bat the opposition out which at one point of time seemed to be a possibility when Kohli was playing a blinder.
But once he got out, India’s fluency in scoring runs vanished. Sri Lankan bowlers bowled well. Malinga, Perera bowled tightly and never allowed India to take off.
Earlier, asked to bat first by Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawarden, India started not so impressively with Gambhir getting out for 6. But Kohli and Rahane then gave the innings the much needed fillip, taking the score to 81 in 11.3 overs before Rahane got out for 21.
Kohli again showed why he is one of the best limited over batsmen in the world at present as he looked a man in supreme form, hitting boundaries from the word go. Mathews, Perera, Malinga-everybody were canned by the Delhi lad all over the park. In all, his eleven fours and a six were a treat to watch. When he was there, it seemed that India would post a huge total but Sri Lanka fought back after getting his wicket.