Rohit Sharma (118) and Lokesh Rahul (89) feasted on the Sri Lankan bowlers with some breath-taking strokeplay. Rohit blasted a record equalling hundred, while Rahul missed out on his second T20 ton. The duo had a record Indian opening stand- fourth overall - as India posted 260-5, the joint second highest total. India then wrapped up the series without much discomfort with an 88-run victory after restricting Sri Lanka to 172-9 in 17.2 overs. The injured Angelo Mathews didn’t come out to bat. Sri Lanka kept the contest alive with an improved batting performance. Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga took India’s wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to the boundaries during their 109-run second wicket stand, which came off just 53 balls. Unlike Cuttack, where they managed to overcome the dew problem, Chahal and Yadav struggled but still managed to get wickets in the middle overs.
Once Chahal broke the Tharanga-Perera stand, the Indians tightened the grip on the contest with six quick wickets in just 10 balls. Kuldeep sent back skipper Thisara Perera, Kusal and Asela Gunaratne in the 15th over, while Chahal accounted for Chaturanga de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Akila Dananjaya in the 16th over to seal the contest.
The duo went for 52 runs each, but shared seven wickets between them and proved why they are India’s first choice spinners in the shorter formats. Except for the toss, nothing went right for the Sri Lankans as Rohit and Rahul treated the Sri Lankan bowlers like a club attack. Except for the first three overs, where the visitors did well to keep the hosts under check, there was no respect whatsoever for the bowlers. Having suffered their biggest T20 defeat at Cuttack, the Sri Lankan team management would have hoped for a better show. Their bowlers, however, struggled to stop the free flowing Rohit and elegant Rahul as they hit boundaries at will.
Rahul got going with a classical straight drive off Dushmantha Chameera. He offered a straight forward chance to Sadeera Samarawickrama but he put down at point. Rahul was on 6 and he added 83 more after that. The right-hander rubbed the salt into wounds with a huge six over long off to Chameera. It was just a kind of momentum India needed. Rohit shifted gears after that and gave Indore crowd a perfect display of class and timing. The Powerplay turned out to be productive for India as they raced to 59 without loss. The platform was set for a big total. The Indian openers had got the measure of the Indore wicket as they crossed the 100-run mark in only 8.3 overs.
The Rohit-Rahul show continued as the Sri Lankan skipper ran out of options. While Rohit was on a roll, Rahul was happy to rotate the strike and watch the batting exhibition from the other end.
Lanka decimated in first T20I
Barabati Stadium in Cuttack was a place where Sri Lankan pacers found gripping the ball difficult and Jaydev Unadkat found it difficult to land his foot on the bowling crease because of dew but Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav had no problems bowling all their variations. Chahal's four for 23 and Yadav's two for 18 put India ahead in the T20 series with a 93-run victory.
Nobody knows what the future holds for the young duo but they clearly have too much calibre for this Sri Lankan outfit. Even Angelo Mathews, the only man in Thisara Perera's party, who seems to have some clue about facing up to them, looked out of sorts against the two tweakers. His reverse sweeps off Yadav did not fetch a single boundary and he ended up offering a simple return catch to Chahal.