India 155-3 (Kohli 68, Eranga 2-30) beat
Sri Lanka 116 (Pathan 3-27) by 39 runs
Only Twenty20 International, Pallekele
India rounded off their limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka with a comprehensive 39-run win in the one-off Twenty20 match in Pallekele. Virat Kohli was again the start of the show, hitting 68 off only 48 balls to help India post 155 for three from their 20 overs. Irfan Pathan and Ashok Dinda then shared seven wickets in the Sri Lankan run chase to help bowl them out for just 116.
Kohli came to the wicket following the early loss of Gautam Gambhir to Shaminda Eranga in the second over. Eranga pegged back Gambhir’s middle-stump to become the first man in cricket history to take a wicket in his first over in Test cricket, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. Eranga’s high was to be short-lived, however, as Kohli pummelled him, along with the other bowlers, for 12 boundaries during his innings.
He dominated a second-wicket stand of 74 with Ajinkya Rahane (21 off 25 balls), before teaming up with Suresh Raina to further torment the home side. Kohli brought up his fifty off 32 balls and had added a further 48 with Raina before falling to Eranga.
After his departure, India struggled for late momentum and added only 35 off their last five overs as Lasith Malinga and co. found the blockhole regularly. They eventually closed on 155 for three with Raina unbeaten on 34 off 25 balls and skipper Ms Dhoni on 16 off 14.
Sri Lanka would have fancied their chances of chasing down the target, but were dealt an early blow by Irfan Pathan, who bowled Tillakaratne Dilshan in the first over. Pathan followed that up with the wickets of captain Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga before the end of his opening spell.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews resisted gamely for a while, but the former was prised out by R Ashwin and the latter was the first of four men to succumb to Ashok Dinda. Dinda also removed Dinesh Chandimal, Eranga and Malinga on his way to figures of four for 19 as Sri Lanka collapsed in a heap, losing their last six wickets for just 20 runs in 31 deliveries.
India next host New Zealand for two Test matches and two Twenty20 Internationals before returning to Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20 which begins on 18th September. The hosts, meanwhile, will take a break from international cricket to play in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League which begins on Saturday.
© Cricket World 2012
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