BHUVNESHWAR Kumar scored his maiden half-century and shared an unbroken 100-run stand with MS Dhoni for India to snatch a fighting victory over Sri Lanka by three wickets in a rain-affected second one- day international on Thursday.
Sri Lanka, sent in to bat first, made 8-236 in 50 overs. It didn’t look enough. Then rain at the interval revised India’s target to 231 off 47 overs.
Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan combined for 109 in the 16 overs, but Sri Lanka offspinner Akila Dananjaya took a career-best six wickets to reduce India to 7-131.
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But, Kumar and Dhoni, stepped up to guide India to victory with 16 balls to spare, and a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
It was close, though. In the 35th over, Dhoni would have been out if the bails had been dislodged when a ball from seamer Vishwa Fernando hit the base of the wicket off Dhoni’s bat.
He moved on patiently to 45 not out, helping No. 9 batsman Kumar to an unbeaten 53.
Their partnership was the highest for the eighth wicket by India in ODIs.
“Once they needed 100 runs, we did everything; we just couldn’t get the breakthrough,” Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga said.
Sharma hit three sixes and five boundaries for a 45-ball 54 before being trapped leg before wicket to Dananjaya. The latter used his googlies effectively as India lost six more wickets for 22 runs.
The India top order of Lokesh Rahul (4), Kedar Jadhav (1), and captain Virat Kohli (4) were all bowled through bat and pad, unable to read Dananjaya. He finished with 6-54.
Kohli said his batsmen will be more mindful of Dananjaya in the coming matches. He said he didn’t regret promoting younger players ahead of him in the batting order.
“Quite an exciting game of cricket, fans and players entertained. Good to have come through eventually,” he said.
Earlier, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah took 4-43 as India restricted Sri Lanka to a modest score.
Bumrah’s first wicket was Sri Lanka opener Niroshan Dickwella, on 31. Danushka Gunathilaka, on 19, tried to charge legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal and was stumped by Dhoni on 2-70.
Tharanga was out for 7, caught in the slips off seamer Hardik Pandya. Kusal Mendis (19) and Angelo Mathews (20) were trapped leg before by Chahal and Axar Patel respectively, reducing Sri Lanka to 121-5.
Then Milinda Siriwardana and Chamara Kapugedara added 91 runs for the sixth wicket to give Sri Lanka something reasonable to defend.
Siriwardana’s third ODI half-century in his 18th match was a run-a-ball 58. Kapugedara was bowled by Bumrah for 40.
The third match on Sunday will be at the same venue.
Originally published as Dhoni saves the day after India lose seven for 22
Source: sports dailytelegraph