What match it was yesterday! India fought their way back to win the 2nd One Day International at Pakelle International Stadium.
It was great batting display from Bhuneshwar Kumar and Former Indian Skipper MS Dhoni to guide India through a fighting win after the middle order collapsed by the spin of Akila Dananjaya.
India’s Captain Virat Kohli won his 6th consecutive toss and again chose to bowl first.
Sri Lankan openers again continued their dominance but failed add more runs to the score.
Their 41 run partnership was ended when Niroshan Dickwella got out for 31 runs.
A few Overs later, Gunthilaka was stumped by India’s fabulous wicket keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. This stumping was Dhoni’s 99th stumping in his international career it’s the most by any wicketkeeper. Dhoni is currently placed with another great wicket keeper batsman from Sri Lanka. He is none other Kumara Sangakkara.
Upul Tharanga again failed to deliver as a captain. His poor run in this series continues. Tharanga managed only 9 runs in the 2nd ODI.
Kusal Mendis too couldn’t hang around with Mathews. He departed for 19 runs.
Later, Angelo Mathews short stay ended when he only scored just 20 runs.
Sri Lanka were in huge trouble when they lost their half of the side for just 121 runs on the board.
They needed a big partnership to come over this situation, when two young guns of Sri Lanka put their hands up and saved their team and they brought them in decent position in the match.
Charmara Kapugedera and Siriwardane added 91 runs for the 7th wicket. This brought Sri Lanka in a decent position.
But the wicket of Siriwardane again changed the momentum and India was back in the dominating position.
After Siriwardane was out for his well made 58 runs, few overs later Kapugedera too couldn’t convert his good start to a big score, he to fell for just 40 runs.
Sri Lanka’s lower order is the weakest among the top ODI teams. Again the lower order batsmen of the Sri Lanka could not add runs and the hosts just scored only 236 for the loss of 8 wickets in their allotted 50 overs.
India’s bowlers maintained a good run, all the bowlers were fantastic but it was a great day for Jasprit Bumrah. He took his 3rd best figures in his ODI career. Bumrah took 4 wickets and gave away 43 runs from his quota of 10 overs.
Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel supported Bumrah very well. Chahal took 2 wickets and Pandya, Patel took 1 wicket each.
Chasing the modest revived total of 231 in 48 overs, India got a flying start. India’s Hitman, Rohit Sharma found his golden touch and smashed a wonderful half century.
On his way of his fluent 54 run knock Rohit Sharma became the 14th Indian batsmen to complete his 8,000 runs in One Day International Cricket.
Rohit Sharma’s partner Shikhar Dhawan continued his good work at the other end. Dhawan supported Rohit well.
India was cruising along nicely to chase this modest score of 231 runs.
India were in a very strong position, they scored 109 runs without losing any wickets. But the wicket of set Rohit Sharma gave Sri Lanka a chance of a making a brilliant comeback.
Dhananjaya was the man who gave Sri Lanka a vital break through. India got another blow when Siriwardena joined the Lankan party. Siriwardena send Dhawan back for 49 runs.
Kohli’s experiment of promoting KL Rahul and Kedar Jhadav didn’t work. They both disappointed the Indian captain and their fans. They only managed 4 & 1 run respectively.
Kohli also couldn’t show his magic like the 1st ODI at Dambulla, Dhanjaya was on fire, he clean bolds Kohli for just 4.
The Spinning web of Dhanjaya continued as Hardik Pandya couldn’t repeat his test heroics and Axar Patel also failed to contribute as an all rounder.
India were in a deep trouble, from being 109 for no loss, they collapsed to 131 for seven.
Dhanjaya’s 6 wicket shock ran through the Indian battling line up. This also reminded us of the Asia Cup Final at Karachi in 2008, where Ajantha Mendis spun Sri Lanka to the title.
Dhanjaya was also on the same mood but he needed to cross the big hurdle of picking MS Dhoni’s wicket.
India’s ace finisher MSD and Bhuvi took the responsibility of scoring those remaining runs.
These two were very patient as run rate wasn’t the big issue. They were scoring runs in ones and twos; they took no risks which would help Sri Lanka to bounce back into the game.
The partnership between Dhoni and Bhuvi was the key to success in this run chase. Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar’s partnership was the 2nd highest in that match and it was only the 2nd hundred stand, the first was one was 109 runs between the openers Rohit and Dhawan. The second was the unbeaten partnership of 100 runs between MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
This unbeaten 100 run stand is also the highest stand for India in Sri Lanka.
During the innings Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar were lucky to serve as Sri Lankan bowlers bowled their heart out but unfortunately couldn’t prevent India winning this game by 3 wickets.
15 extras also helped India’s cause, in fact this might be the first time where Dhoni have faced a wide ball as the winning run. Usually MSD loves to clear the boundary but due to some wayward bowling a wide was the winning run for India.
Even though Bhuvi failed to pick any wicket while bowling but his contribution with bat was immense to win this crunch game. Bhuvneshwar scored his maiden ODI fifty and he became just second Indian batsmen after Madan Lal to score a fifty in tests and ODIs while batting at number 8 position.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was unbeaten on 53 and MS Dhoni played a purely support’s role with his 45 not out.
Sri Lanka fought and fought hard but it was India who holded their nerve in this thrilling match.
Akila Dhananjaya was named the man of the match for his outstanding spell of spin bowling.
Next match on Sunday 27th August 2017 at Pallekele International Stadium, Pallekele