A stunning unbeaten 69 from Deepak Chahar helped India snatch win from the jaws of defeat in the second ODI against Sri Lanka, thus taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Suryakumar and Krunal Pandya, the last recognised batting pair, kept India going with a 44-run stand. Suryakumar went past his maiden half-century but fell in the same over, lbw to Lakshan Sandakan for a well made 53 off 44.
India’s chase started on a brisk note just like in the first ODI, but Sri Lanka came with much better plans this time. Learning from the first game, SL got spin on early and it worked wonders as Hasaranga’s googly hit Prithvi Shaw’s stumps, the opener gone for 13 off 11.
Ishan Kishan, who made a brisk fifty on Sunday, looked to be positive but chopped on against Kasun Rajitha. Shikhar Dhawan and Manish Pandey steadied the ship briefly but the skipper fell to Hasaranga, looking to flick him across the line and missing to be LBW.
India were 65 for 3 but that didn’t stop them from batting briskly; Suryakumar Yadav and Manish Pandey were full of intent in their 50-run stand. However, an unfortunate run out ended Pandey’s promising knock of 37 (31). Suryakumar’s straight drive hit the bowler’s finger before the stumps, and Pandey was caught backing up too far.
Hardik Pandya fell in the same over, chipping Dasun Shanaka to mid wicket for 0.
Krunal was India’s biggest hope then and he looked good for his 35, but a beauty from Hasaranga that bowled him dented India’s chances.
But if Sri Lanka thought the game was done there, they were mistaken. Deepak Chahar was on 9 off 26 then and took over, taking the game deep along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The equation gradually kept coming down. 47 from 42, 35 off 36, 29 off 24. Chahar got to his maiden half-century, a splendid rear guard effort.
He was also smart enough to see off Hasaranga’s spell, leaving 15 to get off the last two overs. A couple of boundaries in the penultimate over got it down to 3 off 6, and aptly, Chahar finished it off with a four.
Earlier, Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal led India’s decent effort with the ball as a self-destructing Sri Lanka slipped to 275 for 9.
Pretty much like the series opener, most of the Sri Lankan batsmen got starts but failed to capitalise after the hosts opted to bat.
Avishka Fernando (50 off 71) and Charith Asalanka (65 off 68) struck fine half-centuries but the home team wasn’t disciplined enough to post an imposing total.
Chamika Karunaratne (44 not out off 33) came up with another timely cameo to take the team past 270.
Chahal (3/50) was the pick of the bowlers while pacers Deepak Chahar (2/53) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/54) too got wickets primarily due to profligacy of the home team batsmen.
Openers Fernando (50 off 71) and Minod Bhanuka (36 off 42) took Sri Lanka to 59 in the first 10 overs.
The momentum shifted India’s way drastically after Chahal removed Minod and Bhanuka Rajapaksa off successive balls in the 14th over. In Minod’s case, it was a soft dismissal as the well set southpaw charged down the wicket and flicked an eventual full toss straight to Manish Pandey at mid-wicket.
The next one from Chahal was a beauty which held its line to a take faint outside edge of Rajapaksa’s bat and wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan managed to clutch onto the catch.
Sri Lanka, who are among the worst performing teams in the middle overs, struggled again in the crucial stage of the game. They took 97 balls to take find their next boundary after the eight over.
From 77 for no loss in the 14th over, Sri Lanka slipped to 134 for four in the 28th over.
Asalanka and skipper Dasun Shanaka tried to resurrect the innings but their 38-run stand ended with the captain falling to a flatter one from Chahal.
Chahar took his second wicket with a perfect knuckle ball that crashed through Wanindu Hasaranga’s defences.
Asalanka played some bold strokes alongside Karunaratne to give the innings some impetus towards the end.
Asalanka got to his maiden fifty with a lofted boundary over extra cover off Kuldeep Yadav before sweeping the left-arm wrist spinner for another four in the same over. The pitch aided India’s spinners like the first game.
Bhuvneshwar kept things tight but bowled at a slower pacer than his usual.