Hats off to the boys for taking it to the last over: Shikhar Dhawan hails depleted side after fighting loss

Sri Lanka took full advantage of India’s weakened playing XI to win the second T20I in Colombo by four wickets and square the three-match 1-1. India were forced to play a new-look XI after Krunal Pandya tested COVID-19 positive on Tuesday. The visitors handed debuts to four players - Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Nitish Rana and Chetan Sakariya. India went in with only five batsmen with all the other batters in isolation.

Sri Lanka sent India into bat after winning the toss and restricted them to 132 for 5 on a tough surface. Shikhar Dhawan top-scored with 40 off 42 while Devdutt Padikkal scored 29 in 23 and Ruturaj Gaikwad contributed 21 off 18. For the Lankans, Akila Dananjaya claimed 2 for 29 while Dushmantha Chameera, Wanindu Hasaranga and Dasun Shanaka picked up a wicket each

India fought hard in the chase but did not have enough runs on the board. Dhananjaya de Silva guided Sri Lanka home with an unbeaten 40 off 34 while Minod Bhanuka contributed 36 off 31 at the start of the innings. Chamika Karunaratne hit a six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the penultimate over to ease Sri Lanka’s path towards victory. Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav was India’s best bowler with 2 for 30.

Speaking after the defeat, Indian captain Shikhar Dhawan hailed the team for fighting despite all the adversity. He said, “The surface turned and was a stopping a bit. We knew we were one batter short. We knew we had to construct our innings smartly. We were 10-15 runs short. That would have made the difference. I am proud of the boys. Never say die attitude is amazing. Hats off to the boys for taking it into the last over.”

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka added that they confident of doing well and wanted to keep India to a low score, which they managed. Shanaka stated, “Strategy was to go hard in the first six overs. Then I went into the middle but couldn't do much. But DDS and Hasaranga did well in the middle overs. When it comes to international cricket, different boys are performing. I should thank BCCI and SLC to allow us to showcase our talent during these tough tough times.”

The deciding T20I will be played on Thursday, July 29

--By A Cricket Correspondent