En route his ton, he smashed a few more records. He became the fastest Indian to a T20I ton. This was Rohit's second T20I ton, that makes him only the first Indian to score more than one hundred in the shortest format of the game. The skipper dictated terms even when he got out. Right after getting out, India coach Ravi Shastri signaled him asking whom to send to bat. Rohit then waved back at the coach, telling Ravi Shastri to send MS Dhoni to bat.
His opening partner for the day, KL Rahul continued his good form, and smashed 89 from just 49 deliveries. Together they reached the highest opening stand for India, 165. The previous best opening stand was 158, between Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. His masterclass innings took India to 260/5.
In response, Sri Lanka would have to deal in boundaries and sixes all through the innings. The pressure was on them, and the dangerous Dickwella set out in the right direction. But before he could do any damage, Jaydev Unadkat had him caught by Pandya for 25.
Upul Tharanga was joined by Kusal Perera and both batsmen gave the Indian bowlers a hard time. The experienced duo did not give in and mounted a fight that momentarily gave the Indian team enough and more to think about.
Wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were not having a good outing like they did in Cuttack as Tharanga and Perera were dealing in boundaries and sixes. The Lankans were showing some much needed fight.
With the help of seven sixes and four boundaries Perera managed to score a very valuable 77, while Tharanga (47) missed his half century by three runs. The Lankans had no choice but to continue playing at blistering pace and in an attempt to keep that going Tharanga top edged his lofted shot for a comfortable caught and bowled dismissal for Chahal.
If India had one foot in the door with that dismissal, they broke the door open in the next with Kuldeep’s wily over. The left arm chinaman bowler first dismissed Thisara Perera (0) off the first ball, and then followed it up by removing the dangerous Kusal Perera (77). Before the over was completed Asela Gunaratne (0) was also sent packing as Sri Lanka were beginning to fold like a pack of cards.
With Yadav redeeming himself by taking three wickets in the over, it was the cue for Chahal to join the party, and the off spinner did not need a second invitation. Chaturanga de Silva (1) tried a fancy reverse sweep and saw his timber disturbed, after which Sadeera Samarawickrama (5) was drawn out of his crease giving MS Dhoni the easiest of stumpings. Under pressure, Akila Dananjaya (5) tried to break free with an almighty slog, but was caught out in the deep.
The wrist spinners had taken a hammering but fought back with 7 wickets to break the back bone of the Lankan batting in a jiffy.
Hardik Pandya then had Dushmantha Chameera clean bowled, and with Angelo Mathews not coming out to bat due to an injury, India wrapped up the match and beat the Lankans by 88 runs.
First Published: December 22, 2017, 8:38 PM IST