India’s winning sequence in T20 internationals came to an embarrassing end in Pune on Tuesday after a heavily depleted Sri Lanka side pulled off an upset five-wicket victory to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Put into bat on a lively track, which had fair amount of bounce and seam movement, India were skittled out for a paltry 101 in 18.5 overs with rookie pace trio of Kasun Rajitha (3/29), Dashun Shanaka (3/16) and Dushmantha Chameera (2/14) doing the bulk of the damage.
Sri Lanka reached the target with two overs to spare. Senior players Dinesh Chandimal (35) and Chamara Kapugedara (25) made useful contributions.
It turned out to be a blow for Mahendra Singh Dhoni after his team won 3-0 in the series Down Under to achieve the top rank in the ICC’s T20 rankings.
If Rajitha blew away the top-order, it was Shanaka and Chameera who decimated the middle and lower-order with only Ravichandran Ashwin with his unbeaten 31 helping India cross the 100-run mark.
Such was the abject surrender by the Indian batsmen in the wake of extra bounce and moving deliveries that apart from Ashwin, only Yuvraj Singh (10) and Suresh Raina (20) reached double figures.
When Sri Lanka batted, they lost a few wickets in between but the target was too small to defend as the 39-run stand between skipper Chandimal and Kapugedara turned out to be a clincher. Milinda Siriwardana struck 21 off 14 balls as he finished the match with a flourish, hitting Jasprit Bumrah for a six and a boundary.
There was no dearth of effort from the Indian bowlers with Ashish Nehra (2/21 in 3 overs) and Ashwin (2/13 in 3 overs) got a couple of wickets each but it was the failure of the batsmen that hurt India the most.