New Delhi: An all-round performance from Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co. defused Sri Lankan hopes to win the three-match Twenty20 International series in India on Friday.
After losing the first match at Pune, Shikhar Dhawan and Ravinchandran Ashwin played stellar roles to help India register a convincing 69-run win at Ranchi to level the series 1-1.
Chasing India's 196/6, the visitors could managed only 127 from the stipulated 20 overs with the loss of nine wickets.
Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and invited India to bat first on a seemingly dry top. Unlike the pitch in Pune, the pitch at JSCA International Stadium Complex was a typical sub-continental one, with limited assist to new ball bowlers.
India started their innings in a confident note with Rohit Sharma hitting the very first delivery of the match for a four over the covers. The Mumbai batsman was, however, soon overshadowed by a brilliant Dhawan.
The Delhi batsmen went onto registered his first fifty of the format. He reached the mini-milestone off just 22 deliveries. His batting efforts earned him the Man of the Match award, eclipsing Thisara Perera's brilliant hat-trick.
He was ably supported by a Rohit, who made 43 off 36 deliveries. Their 75-run opening stand laid the foundation for India to post a good total. Besides the openers, Indian top-order batsmen produced runs even as skipper Dhoni promoted rookie Hardik Pandya ahead of himself and Yuvraj Singh.
Ajinkya Rahane, batting at no.3, contributed with 25 valuable runs off 21 deliveries, while Suresh Raina and Pandya played two superb innings to get India to a good total.
Raina scored 30 off 19 balls, and he took some to time to get into the T20 mood. But it was altogether a different story for Pandya, who scored 27 off 12.
If it was not for Perera's hat-trick, India could have ended up scoring more than 210. The Sri Lankan bowler got the wickets of Raina, Pandya and Yuvraj in the penultimate over to restrict the Indian innings.
Dhoni started the defence with Ashwin opening the bowling. And his tactics showed results with spinner getting the better of Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan in the second ball. Ashwin's superb start was responded by Ashish Nehra, by taking the wicket of Seekkuge Prasanna in the very next over.
From that double-blow, the visitors never recovered with Indian spinners taking over the reigns in the middle overs.
Ashwin returned with an impressive figures of 4-0-14-3, while Nehra was bit expensive for his 3-0-26-2.
Jedeja contained the middle order batsmen, taking two wickets by conceding 24 runs in his four-overs spell.
Skipper Dhoni himself got into act with a super-fast stumping to dismiss rival skipper, who made 31.
Chamara Kapugedera was the top scorer for Sri Lanka with 32 off 27.
But towards the end, youngster Jasprit Bumrah showed his guile once again, taking two wickets to clean up the Lankan tail.
Third and final match of the series will be played at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.