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Sri Lankan seamers blow India away on lively pitch

Sri Lankan seamers blow away India on lively pitch
Dinesh Chandimal scored a vital 35 during a tense chase.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka 105-5 (Chandimal 35) beat
India 101 (Rajitha 3-29) by five wickets
First Twenty20 International in Pune

The Sri Lankan fast bowlers produced a superlative bowling performance on a lively pitch to bowl India out for just 101 runs following which the batsmen chased down the total in 18 overs to complete a five-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International in Pune. 

Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to field first on a green pitch. The debutant fast bowler Kasun Rajitha (3-29) vindicated his captain’s decision by picking two Indian wickets in the very first over.

Rohit Sharma (0) chipped a catch to mid-off while Ajinkya Rahane (4) lobbed a short delivery to short extra cover.

Shikhar Dhawan (9) and Suresh Raina (20) added 27 runs for the third wicket, giving India a very brief respite. Rajitha returned to dismiss Dhawan by having him caught at third man off a top edge.

In the eighth over, Dasun Shanaka (3-16) struck twice to dismiss Raina and MS Dhoni (2) to leave India reeling at 51 for five.

India slipped further as Yuvraj Singh (10) fell to a short delivery from Dushmantha Chameera (2-14) with the bowler taking a simple return catch. At the half-way mark India were 54 for six.

India continued to lose wickets in regular intervals but Ravichandran Ashwin (31 not out) struck an unbeaten 24-ball knock to push India’s total to 101 runs before they were bowled out in 18.5 overs.

Rajitha and Shanaka shared six wickets equally while Chameera accounted for two scalps.

Chasing a small target on a pitch that was assisting the fast bowlers, the Sri Lankan openers went for quick runs and were dismissed inside five overs.

Both Niroshan Dickwella (4) and Danushka Gunathilaka (9) were caught at mid-on by Dhawan off Ashish Nehra.

However, Dinesh Chandimal (35) and Chamara Kapugedera (25) put on a 39-run stand in seven overs to put the chase back on track.

At this time, the Indian bowlers were bowling tight lines but Chandimal and Kapugedera were getting the crucial boundaries away to chip away at the small target.

The introduction of Ashwin (2-13) brought the downfall of Kapugedera who was trapped lbw. A couple of overs later, Raina (1-13) struck with the crucial wicket of Chandimal, who was also rapped on the pads in front of the stumps.

However, by this stage, Sri Lanka had already scored 84 for four and needed just 18 more runs from the last five overs.

Raina took a fantastic catch at square leg to see the back of Shanaka (3) giving Ashwin his second wicket.

Milinda Siriwardana (21 not out) ensured that Sri Lanka had no late hiccups as he smashed a six and a four to seal a five-wicket victory for Sri Lanka which gave them a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Rajitha was the man of the match for his excellent opening spell. The second game of the series will be played in Ranchi on 12th of February.

© Cricket World 2016