India Beat Sri Lanka to level series 1-1
India's happy homecoming finally began at MS Dhoni's hometown, where playing in dry conditions after an "English" Pune, India routed Sri Lanka by 69 runs to lock the three-match T20I series at 1-1.An all-round display in Ranchi followed an upset defeat on the green track in Pune with Shikhar Dhawan's 25-ball 51 and R Ashwin's 3 for 14 leading the credits at the end of the match.
India's 196 for 6 – powered by cameos from Suresh Raina, Ajijkya Rahane and Hardik Pandya – proved too tall a target, which could have been even bigger had Thisara Perera not grabbed a hat-trick to peg India back a bit.
Other than Chamara Kapugedera (32) and skipper Dinesh Chandimal (31), none of the Lankan batsmen could stand against the disciplined Indian attack and only scored 127 for 9 in 20 overs.
For India, Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets apiece to keep the supply of wickets going in the Sri Lankan chase.Ashwin struck in the first legitimate ball of the innings with Dhoni pulling off a brilliant stumping to send back Tillakaratne Dilshan. Nehra had Seekkuge Prasanna on the very first ball of second over before inducing an edge from opener Danushka Gunathilaka to leave Lanka tottering.
Kapugedera and Chandimal shared a solid 52-run stand for the fourth wicket befor Jadeja got rid of them in successive balls to dash all their hopes of comeback.
Earlier, put in to bat, Dhawan scored his maiden T20I fifty to fire India to 196 for 6. India were on course to score well above 200 thanks to the left-hander's fifty along with other notable cameos from Rohit (43 off 36), Pandya (27 off 12) and Raina (30 off 19) but the visitors pulled things back courtesy Thisara’s hat-trick.
Dhawan and Rohit got India off to a flying start, putting on 75 in just 7 overs. Dhawan smashed seven fours and two sixes in his innings of 51 off 25 balls but was done in by Dushmantha Chameera, trying to guide one to third man.
Ajinkya Rahane then joined Rohit in the middle but things slowed down a bit. Rahane released the pressure by hitting consecutive fours off Dasun Shanaka and India slowly moved into a position where they looked to get 200. But Rohit fell short of his half-century, done in by a brilliant slower ball from Chameera. Rahane soon followed as he was dismissed by Sachithra Senanayake.
Pandya was surprisingly sent ahead of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, but he played some brilliant shots along with Raina to get some quick runs. Pandya smashed Senanayake for consecutive sixes before Raina joined the party by picking up three fours in the next over.
The duo brought up their 50-run stand off only 23 balls.And when it was looking that India will easily cross the 200-run mark, Perera removed Pandya, Raina and Yuvraj in the 19th over to take his maiden hat-trick. Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja then pushed the score to 196 for 6.