Sri Lanka’s luck which is the formal descriptive attribute between victory and defeat, continued to dangle in a so close, but yet so far miserable defeat as the hosts from a position of strength let India off the hook of 116 for 5 letting its tail enders Deepak Chahar and Buvaneshwar Kumar take their side to an improbable three wicket win chasing 277 in the second ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. But realistically the Lankan camp cannot duck under the element of luck to have been the guiding ill destiny to defeat, but own up to poor captaincy calls of not bringing on the best two bowlers Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga to break the eighth-wicket partnership before it became ominous when India were 193 for 7. From a dust biting trail of defeats from Bangladesh to England, and badly beaten in the opening game to have got into the box seat and let it go was certainly a from the ecstatic to agony outcome for Dasun Shanaka and his charges as the expectations of an entire nation watching the live telecast disintegrated. Indeed, with a good 82 runs to bowl at to grab those final three Indian wickets why not to have brought his best two bowlers who had done the early damage defies logic.
Alas, it was another game lost as India went 2-up to already pocket the series thriving on the heroics of Deepak Chahar with the bat from his strong point as India’s strike bowler in a truly memorable unbeaten 69 figuring in an unfinished run victory chase. If it did save the day for India, it was another bad result for the Lankan camp not through the caving ins that had haunted them, but through an act of bungling. For there was Chahar progressively blossoming from the subdued of a waiting game working the ones and twos to getting that much of leverage to finally putting to the sword the Lankan attack when it should have been nipped in the bud. Lakshan Sandakan took a heavy pounding including a six as Chahar ran away with the Player of the Match award.
India had lost their way losing 3 wickets for 65 after Wanindu Hasaranga started the slide clean bowling Prithvi Shaw for 13 – 1 for 28 in 2.5 followed by the wicket of Ishan Kishan bowled by Kasun Rajitha for 1 ; 2 for 39 after 5 overs. Hasaranga struck again trapping the Indian skipper Shikhar Dhawan leg before wicket for 29. After 17.2 overs India precipitated to 115 for 4 and 116 for 5 with Manesh Pandey run out to a throw by Dasun Shanaka at the non-striker’s end for 37 and four deliveries later Hardik Pandya out for a duck offering a catch to Dhananjaya de Silva off Dasun Shanaka. India briefly recovered to 160 for 6 through a sixth wicket alliance of 44 between Suriyakumar Yadav who made 53 and Krunai Pandya 35 when the former fell leg before wicket to Lakshan Sandakan by the 27th over. When Hasaranga bowled Pandya for his third wicket India were 193 for 7 when the great escape continued courtesy Chahar and Kumar.
The ultimate result in India’s favour would as it is have left the hosts ruing all the good hard work of having posted a big total of 275 having gone asunder that robbed relative newcomer to top flight cricket Charith Asalanka of a champagne party with the rest on a gallant 68-ball 65 built around some calculated studious batting of rotating the strike. It was a knock in the essence of the innings building consolidation by the 24-year old left-hander in only his fourth ODI and the measure of it around just the 6 boundaries underscored perfect temperament of maturity the youngster had cultivated in but a few outings in the harsh rigours of the game. As much, the end result was a spoiler to the fine work upfront of openers Avishka Fernando 50 off 71 with 4 boundaries and a six and Minod Bhanuka 36 off 42 in an array of 6 boundaries in a 77-run partnership off 78 balls. It did sound the positivity of a durable right-hand and left hand pairing for the future given the contrasting mixture of the two hunting for runs – Avishka playing the anchoring part and Minod loosening his arms effectively. For the 26-year old Minod Bhanuka it was a pleasant pay off at last to getting his name into a durable start following a few call ups where he did not get the confidence building persistence of the selectors before. His wicket was claimed by Chahal holing out to Panday, Next man in Bhanuka Rajapaksa who began his ODI career in the sparkle of a first ball six as he did in his foray to T20 cricket, was undone by a good delivery ny Chahal that deceived him to playing forward and edging to the wicket-keeper in the very first ball he faced. The advent of Dhananjaya de Silva resurrected the innings from those two successive wickets adding 47 for the fourth wicket with Avishka Fernando who was third out caught Pandaya bowled Kumar with the total 124 just past the halfway mark. Following the dismissal of Dhananjaya for14 deliveries later for 32 (45b, 1×4) caught by Dhawan off Chaharwith the score 134, Dasun Shanaka stepped in for a 24-ball 16 (1×4) before Chahal bowled him for his third wicket – 172 for 5, 35.2. Wanindu Hasaranga was bowled by Chaharfor 8 – 194 for 6 39.1. It brought Chamika Karunaratne, the bowling all-rounder who followed up his top score of 43 in the previous game with a 33-ball 44 with 5 boundaries adding 50 runs for the seventh wicket with Asalanka who was seventh out with the total on 244 in the first ball of the 48th over. Dushmantha Chameera was dismissed for 2 caught by sub Padikkai off Kumar – 264 for 8 49.1 and Lakshan Sandakan was run out for a duck trying to rotate the strike to Karunaratne with Kasun Rajitha unbeaten on 1.Kumar claimed 3 for 54, Chahal 3 for 50 and Chahar 2 for 53.
Sri Lanka 275/9 (50 Overs) RR: 5.50
(Charith Asalanka 65, Avishka Fernando 50, Chamika Karunaratne n.o. 44, Minod Bhanuka 36, Dhananjaya de Silva 32, Dasun Shanaka 16, Yuzvendra Chahal 3/50, Buvaneshwar Kumar3/ 54, Deepak Chahar 2/53)
India 277/7 (49.1 Overs) RR: 5.63
(Deepak Chahar n.o. 69, Suriyakumar Yadav 53, Manish Pandey 37, Krunai Pandya 35, Shikhar Dhawan 29, Buvaneshwar Kumar n.o. 19, Prithvi Shaw 13, Wanindu Hasaranga 3/37, Dasun Shanaka 1/10, Kasun Rajitha 53, Lakshan Sandakan 1/71)