India clinch record 8th ODI series win


Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliant 12th century, combined with splendid bowling from Kuldeep Yadav (3/42) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/46), helped India crush Sri Lanka by eight wickets at the ACA-VDCA stadium in Visakhapatnam on Sunday to clinch the series 2-1. This was the hosts eighth consecutive bilateral ODI series win.

It was a clinical performance by Rohit Sharma’s side which ensured that India ended 2017 without a single ODI series loss in bilateral contests. Chasing 216, India were jolted early when Akila Dananjaya bowled Rohit Sharma for 7 with a googly.

Having lost the early wicket, Dhawan and Iyer played calmly. The left-hander broke the shackles by hammering Suranga Lakmal for two boundaries in the ninth over and this boosted Iyer’s confidence, who smashed Angelo Mathews for two boundaries in the 10th over.

Iyer notched up his second consecutive fifty off 44 balls by launching Sachith Pathirana over long on for a six. Dhawan slog-swept Akila Dananjaya over deep mid wicket to bring up his fifty off 46 balls. The 135-run stand ended when Iyer (65) miscued a pull shot off Thisara Perera to be caught at mid on.

Dhawan held firm and brought up his 12th ton off 84 balls by sweeping Asela Gunaratne to deep square leg to guide India to a comprehensive victory. However, the win for India was set-up earlier by the dynamic legspin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who dented Sri Lanka after they started aggressively.

Tharanga brilliant

Inserted to bat, Sri Lanka started aggressively. Upul Tharanga, in particular, batted superbly by hitting two consecutive boundaries off Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah. He targeted Hardik Pandya by blasting him for five consecutive fours. The first boundary came thanks to a outside edge to third man while the second ball was lofted over mid on. The third ball was driven uppishly over cover and the fourth ball came courtesy yet another outside edge to third man. The fifth ball was hit over mid-off again.

 The left-hander was ably supported by Sadeera Samarawickrama (42) and the pair put on 121 runs for the second wicket. On 80, Tharanga lofted Chahal over long on to become the third player after Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to go past 1000 runs in ODIs in 2017. At 160/2 in the 28th over, Sri Lanka were poised to reach a score in excess of 300.

Kuldeep, Chahal game-changers

Kuldeep Yadav changed the course of the match in the 28th over. Dhoni’s brilliant stumping caught Tharanga short for 95 and the chinaman struck again in the same over by removing Niroshan Dickwella for 8. Sri Lanka sunk even further when Chahal got the massive wicket of Angelo Mathews for 17 by bowling him with a ripping legbreak.

Kuldeep and Chahal proceeded to slice through the middle and lower order as Sri Lanka lost eight wickets for 55 runs to be bowled out for 215. The contributions from bowlers and batsmen at crucial times has been the key reason for India’s dominant run in 2017 and Visakhapatnam was a continuation of the trend.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 215 all out in 44.5 overs. (Upul Tharanga 95, Kuldeep Yadav 3/42) lost to India 219/2 in 32.1 overs. (Shikhar Dhawan 100*, Shreyas Iyer 65) by eight wickets.

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