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India level series with strong batting performance

India level series with strong batting performance
Shikhar Dhawan scored his maiden T20I fifty for India.
©REUTERS / Action Images

India 196-6 (Dhawan 51) beat
Sri Lanka 127-9 (Ashwin 3-14) by 69 runs
Second Twenty20 International in Ranchi

A collective batting performance led by Shikhar Dhawan's fifty helped India flex their batting muscle to defeat Sri Lanka by 69 runs in the second Twenty20 International in Ranchi and level the series 1-1. 

Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and inserted India into batting first. Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and inserted India into batting first. Tillakaratne Dilshan returned for Sri Lanka  at the expense of Niroshan Dickwella while India were unchanged.

In a completely contrasting start from the previous game, Indian openers scored nine boundaries and two sixes in the first six overs to take India to 70 for naught.

Dhawan brought his maiden T20I fifty off just 22 deliveries but fell in the same over after edging a Dushmantha Chameera (2-38) delivery to Chandimal.

The spinners slowed down the proceedings as Rohit Sharma (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (25) found it tough to score boundaries consistently. India reached 93 for one at the half-way mark.

Just when the pair started their acceleration with 22 runs from the 11th and 12th overs combined, Chameera and Sachithra Senanayake (25) struck in successive overs to remove Sharma and Rahane respectively.

Late flourish from Hardik Pandya (27) and Suresh Raina (30) ensured India finished their innings at 196 for six in the 20 overs.

India were looking to cross the 200-run mark with ease at one stage but a hatrick from Thisara Perera (3-33) in the penultimate over slowed their progress. He became the fourth bowler in T20Is to claim a hatrick.

The new ball pair of Ravichandran Ashwin (3-14) and Ashish Nehra (2-26) compounded Sri Lanka's problems further when they both struck thrice in the first four overs to restrict Sri Lanka to 16 for three. 

Chandimal (31) and Chamara Kapugedara (32) added 52 runs for the fourth wicket but the required run rate was nearing 15 by the end of 10 overs. Ravindra Jadeja (2-24) removed both the settled batsmen in successive deliveries as Sri Lanka slipped to 69 for five.

Milinda Siriwardana (28) and Dasun Shanaka (27) were the only other Sri Lankan batsmen to show some fight as they eventually managed only 127 for nine in the 20 overs.

The 69-run victory also helped India level the series 1-1 with one more game to go. Dhawan was awarded the man of the match for his half-century. 

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