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Shanaka’s fireworks power Sri Lanka to thump India in second T20I

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Source: AFP

PUNE: Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka led the way with a record-breaking half-century and two wickets to script a series-levelling victory over India in the second T20I of the three-match series on Thursday.

Batting first, Sri Lanka exploit India’s bowling errors and raised a mammoth 206/6 in the allotted 20 overs at the back of half-centuries from skipper Shanaka and opening batter Kusal Mendis.

The touring side enjoyed a decent start to their innings as they raised 55/0 at the end of the powerplay while the second over of the innings from Arshdeep Singh, who bowled a hat-trick of no-balls turned out to be a momentum booster for Sri Lanka.

Mendis, who appeared to be in top notch, brought up his vital half-century with a six to Yuzvendra Chahal but the latter struck soon after to provide India with a much-needed breakthrough.

The wicketkeeper batter scored 52 off just 31 deliveries, laced with three boundaries and four sixes.

Sri Lanka then began to lose wickets at regular intervals and soon slipped to 110/4 in the 14th over with another opening batter Pathum Nissanka also walking back after a cautious 33 off 35.

Left-handed batter Charith Asalanka then stitched an important 28-run partnership with Shanaka before India’s pace sensation Umran Malik brought an end to the former’s quickfire cameo of 37 runs in just 19 deliveries.

Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva’s golden duck pushed Sri Lanka further on the backfoot before skipper Shanaka stood up for his team and turned the tables on India with late fireworks.

The right-handed batter took on the Indian bowlers in the death overs and smashed the fastest half-century for Sri Lanka in just 20 balls that included two boundaries and six sixes.

Shanaka’s quickfire knock powered Sri Lanka to finish their first innings at a massive total of 206/6.

Umran was the pick of the bowlers for India as he picked up three wickets but leaked 48 runs while Axar Patel was economical for his 4/24.

Set to chase 207, India fell 16 runs short despite a threatening 91-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Patel and top-ranked Suryakumar Yadav.

Sri Lankan bowlers put on a show in defence of the massive total and ran through India’s top order.

Kasun Rajitha breathed fire in the second over of the run chase as he removed two Indian batters – Ishan Kishan (2) and Shubman Gill (5).

The wickets kept tumbling for the hosts as skipper Pandya (12) and Shubman Gill (9) also fell as they looked in deep trouble at 57/5 in the 10th over.

However, all-rounder Patel glimmered a ray of hope for India when he smashed three consecutive sixes off Hasaranga before Yadav joined the thrashing.

Coming to bat at number seven, Axar imitated Shanaka as he too raised his fifty on just 20 deliveries before Yadav also joined the former with a six.

The top-ranked T20I batter, however, soon departed after his half-century and Shivam Mavi began to launch a counterattack afterwards but the required run rate kept mounting and India left 21 runs to chase in the final over.

Skipper Shanaka once again stood up for his team and bowled the final over in a crisp situation and struck out Axar and then Mavi off the final ball.

Following Sri Lanka’s victory, the three-match T20I series will now be decided on Saturday.

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