Series sealed

In India vs Sri Lanka’s 2nd ODI, India has excitingly sealed the series taking an unassailable 2-0 lead. Shikhar Dhawan has won his first-ever series as the captain of the side. Thanks to exemplary performances by Deepak Chahar and Suryakumar Yadav. The Indians will be hoping Shikhar and Co. carry this winning form into the remaining games of the series.

At the toss, it was Sri Lanka who opted to bat first yet again. India with their strong batting line up was not at all hesitant to chase. Once again, the Indian pacers were not able to take wickets with the new ball in the powerplay until Bhuvaneshwar Kumar struck in the 14th over. Avishka Fernando, who has looked quite promising, was not able to convert his start into a big score. Then, Yuzvendra Chahal with his magnificent leg-spin gave India two quick breakthroughs to change the game on its head.

Sri Lanka was on the verge of a collapse when Dhananjaya De Silva and Charith Aslanka stitched together. Their partnership helped them to post a challenging total. Chamika Karunaratne again played a good supporting hand of 44 runs. Thus, Sri Lanka was able to post a respectable total of 275. The Indian pacers were quite impressive in both the middle as well as death overs. Deepak Chahar and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar returned with figures of 2-53 and 3-54 respectively.

Everybody was expecting the Indian openers to get off to another flying start to the innings but Sri Lanka had different plans. The Sri Lankans introduced spin in the third over itself and it worked wonders. Wanindu Hasaranga got the wicket of Prithvi Shaw who is looking a bit rusty against the spinners. The 23-year-old Ishan Kishan also had a short stay at the crease as he inside-edged the ball onto the stumps. India was struggling at 39 for 2 and it was a very tough situation when Manish Pandey walked in to bat. With his captain, they both tried to steer the innings. Just as things were settling down, Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed as he played across the line and was trapped LBW. Once again, the spin had done the trick for the Lankans.

At number five walked in Suryakumar Yadav, and took his opportunity like he has been off lately. He looked in absolutely no pressure and came out all guns blazing. He was easily picking the googlies bowled by the leggie. Surya and Manish started to add the runs on the board and kept rotating the strike, taking the game forward. India looked in a comfortable position with the two going strong and the Pandya Brothers yet to come. In the 18th over though, fortune favored Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka and Manish paid the price. It was a very unfortunate wicket as Shanaka got a finger on a crisp Surya straight drive and Manish was caught short of his crease at the nonstriker’s end.

Hardik Pandya chipped the ball right into the hands of the mid-wicket fielder, falling for a duck. The last recognized pair of Surya and Krunal tried to consolidate with the intention of taking the game deep, but Surya fell to chinaman Sandakan just after getting to his maiden fifty. It was then that Krunal Pandya and Deepak Chahar came together to add another 30 odd runs after which Krunal fell for a patient 35. India looked down and out, but our two master swing bowlers had other plans, this time with the bat in hand.

India has been crying out for a bowler who can contribute with the bat at number 8 and Deepak Chahar put his hand up to claim that spot. Showing great maturity and reading of the match situation, he joined hands with vice-captain Bhuvneshwar to take India close. His knock of 69* included 7 boundaries and 1 six, helping India pull off a great win. His blistering knock was not just about hitting big but he even rotated the strike quite well. It looked like a pure batsman’s innings and that’s a huge compliment to the work done by Chahar on his batting.

The innings by Deepak Chahar was the turning point of the match. He took a page out of Dhoni’s book of tactics, taking the game deep and waiting for the opposition to flinch. It was a champion performance by Deepak Chahar with both bat and ball. His knock showed that he could be the answer to India’s never-ending search for fast bowling all-rounder.

Having sealed the series gives India plenty of room to try new things in the 3rd ODI. I expect the likes of Devdutt Paddikal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rahul Chahar, and Chetan Sakariya in line to make their debuts in the final ODI.

Picture credits – sports.ndtv, sports.ndtv, sportskeed, hindustantimes, Outlook

Also read – India vs Sri lanka- India Off To A Good Start

– Neel Vyankatesh Joshi

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