Wanindu leads the way as SL seals T20 series as 2-1

Legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga terrorised batters right through his four overs, Dasun Shanaka picked up two wickets through the early middle overs, and Dushmantha Chameera kept the pressure on with the new ball and at the death, to reduce a severely depleted India batting order to 81 for 8 in their 20 overs.

Against the worst XI India fielded (they were forced to dip into their net-bowling reserves in this game, after Navdeep Saini was injured in the last match), Sri Lanka produced perhaps their best bowling and fielding performance of the series. This was a worn, turning, surface, so 81 wasn’t as modest a total as it might read.

Still, Sri Lanka’s batters chased it comfortably, getting home with 33 balls and seven wickets to spare. This was their first T20I series victory since 2019, and their first ever against India in a bilateral series.

Hasaranga runs riot
India had already been dented twice when Sri Lanka’s best bowler came to the crease. Shikhar Dhawan had edged Chameera to wide slip in the first over, before offspinner Ramesh Mendis got Devdutt Padikkal lbw in the fourth. Then came Hasaranga, who was celebrating his 24th birthday, to deliver perhaps the definitive over of the innings. Fourth ball, he hit Sanju Samson in front of middle stump with a fast legbreak, the batter not bothering to review after clearly missing his across-the-line shot. Two balls later, Hasaranga slipped in a straighter one that bounced a bit, and hit Ruturaj Gaikwad’s pads with a delivery that would have clipped the top of leg stump.

Later, he was just as effective against India’s long tail, having Bhuvneshwar Kumar caught at extra-cover, then Varun Chakravarthy at short midwicket. He finished with figures of 4 for 9 from his four overs – the best of his career.

Shanaka turns the screws in the middle overs
India were understandably cautious after Hasaranga’s first over had left them 25 for 4, but even with batters attempting largely safe shots, Shanaka managed to wangle out two wickets to turn India’s top-order collapse into a crisis. He took an outsanding return catch, throwing himself to his left to intercept a lob from Nitish Rana, after the batter had pushed at a slower ball too early. Later in the innings, he bowled a bouncer at Rahul Chahar, whose attempted ramp shot went high into the air for wicketkeeper Minod Bhanuka to get under. Shanaka finished with 2 for 20 from his four.

Chahar gives India a sniff
Even on a turning pitch, this always felt like a indefensible score. It was thanks to Chahar, and the big spin he generated with his legbreak, that the chase was even slightly interesting. He took a return catch off Avishka Fernando in the final over of the powerplay, then later turned one past the bat of Minod Bhanuka to get him lbw. His third wicket was from a topspinner that Sadeera Samarawickrama was late on, and let clatter into his stumps. Chahar finished with 3 for 15 – the second-best figures in the game.

DDS takes Sri Lanka home again
Both the last two matches were made for Dhananjaya de Silva’s style of T20 batting, with modest totals to chase. He ensured he stuck around until the winning run came for the second night in succession, remaining 23 not out off 20 balls. Hasaranga was at the crease with him, having hit 14 off nine.

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