New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: India on Thursday witnessed a 7-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I at the R Premadasa Stadium. With the win, Sri Lanka managed to clinch the T20 series 2-1 against a depleted India which faced replacements in the team due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For Sri Lanka, leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga took 4/9 in his four overs to help the host restrict India to a paltry 81/8 in 20 overs. The home side coasted to the total with 33 balls to spare.

Opting to bat first, India got off to bad start as the visitors lost skipper Shikhar Dhawan in the first over. A mix-up in the middle resulted in Devdutt Padikkal getting run out in the fifth over. Sanju Samson's wicket in the same over only dented India's chances of having a decent total. Ruturaj Gaikwad (14), who was playing well, too departed in the fifth over.

India lost three wickets in the fifth over and Nitish Rana's dismissal in the ninth over left the visitors reeling at 36/5 with no recognised batsman at the crease. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kuldeep Yadav then stitched a 19-run stand for the sixth wicket however, Hasaranga sent back the pacer in the 15th over. After 15 overs, India score was 55/6 with Kuldeep and Rahul Chahar at the crease.

India kept losing wickets at regular intervals and were eight down for 63 before Kuldeep and Sakariya stitched an 18-run stand as visitors posted 81 in the allotted 20 overs. Sri Lanka needed 82 runs to win against the depleted Indian side in the series decider and the hosts chase down the target comfortably inside 15 overs.

Chasing 82, Sri Lanka got off to a decent start as Rahul Chahar removed opening batsman Avishka Fernando in the sixth over. It was a slow start from Sri Lanka but the hosts were far from any trouble as they only needed 82 runs to win. Chahar did pick two more wickets as he dismissed Minod Bhanuka and Sadeera Samarawickrama but wasn't able to stop Sri Lanka from chasing the target.

The visitors were forced to field a below strength team in Wednesday's and Thursday's final two T20Is since nine of their players, including Covid-affected Krunal Pandya, were in isolation. The close loss on Wednesday raised hopes of an India fightback and a possible series win in the decider. But a lack of batting depth saw India crumble. With most of their batsmen in isolation, India had to field six bowlers, who were unable to bat.

 

(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan