India defeated Sri Lanka in the third T20 match of series with ridiculous ease by nine wickets at ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam. With this victory, India also won the three-match series 2-1 after losing the first and winning the second T20 in Pune and Ranchi respectively.
Though many were left surprised when India captain MS Dhoni decided to bowl after winning the toss, the skipper's decision was proved right as the home team dismissed Lanka for a paltry score of 82 runs in 18 overs. Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the bowler with four wickets against his name.
India chased down the score with relative ease. India lost one wicket only in the process with Shikhar Dhawan finishing 46 not out.
India was in full control of the game right from the start as Aswhin, who opened the bowling for India, took two wickets in the first over including the important wicket of Tilakratne Dilshan.
Ashwin always looks a dangerous bowler when there is some assistance in the pitch for the spinners and the dry pitch in Visakhapatnam had some sharp turn from the very first over, which helped the Tamil Nadu spinner weave his magic through. The spinner took the first four wickets of the match to put India in the driver's seat. The score read 20 for the loss of four wickets.
Sri Lanka, with such start, were in the back foot and they never managed to recover as they lost wickets at regular intervals. With four wickets down, Sri Lanks should have been more cautious but they still played some reckless shots. Similarly, Sri Lanka lost Milinda Siriwardana, who played across the line and was bowled by Ashish Nehra. The score then read 21 for five.
Despite effort from the lower order to hang on the batting crease, their poor start led to their eventual downfall as they lost their last wicket with the team total on 82 runs. None of the Sri Lanka batsmen could handle the Indian bowlers, primarily the home spinners. Part time spinner Suresh Raina also scalped two wickets.
Dasun Shanaka and Thisara Perera were the only two players to cross doubles figures for Sri Lanka, which is really embarrassing. After having lost the second T20 in Ranchi, they were expected to come all guns blazing, but their batsmen did not even turn up on Sunday.
After having witnessed India spinners dominate first innings, Sri Lank also opened the innings with their number one spinner, Sachithra Senanayake. But the India openers – Dhawan and Rohit Sharma – played some sensible cricket and scored runs at an easy pace. They respected the conditions, unlike the Lankan batsmen.
However, they lost their first wicket with 29 runs on the board. Rohit was adjudged leg before for 13 runs. After which, Ajinkya Rahane and Dhawan did not have much problems while facing the Lankan bowlers. They scored runs at a cautious rate and Dhawan won the game for India with a delightful six and a four in the 14th over. They won the match with 37 balls to spare.
This series victory will help India, who will be keen to put up another clinical show in the upcoming Asia Cup and T20 World Cup.
Click here for India vs Sri Lanka third T20 highlights