Colombo, July 29 (IANS) A below-strength India, who were forced to make seven changes in the XI after nine players were ruled out due to Covid-related issues, stretched Sri Lanka before losing by four wickets in the last over of the second T20 International here on Wednesday night.

India, who were asked to bat, had made 132/5 wickets at the R Premadasa Stadium as the batting line-up, which included only four specialist batsmen and wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson, couldn’t set a total in excess of 150 which they had managed in the first T20I (164).

Sri Lanka, riding on Dhananjaya de Silva’s 40 off 34 balls, won with two balls to spare after a few hiccups.

India skipper Shikhar Dhawan grafted 40 off 42 deliveries with five fours on a pitch that was difficult to bat on and shared an opening stand of 49 in seven overs with Ruturaj Gaikwad (21 off 18 balls). Debutant Devdutt Padikkal grafted 29 off 21 deliveries.

India were coasting at 81/1 after 12 overs before Dhawan fell. Soon Padikkal and Samson were bowled while trying to increase the scoring rate, with the former missing the line during a sweep and the latter letting the ball sneak past bat and pad and on to the stumps.

From then on, India lost track and could not make use of the last few overs.

The Sri Lankans, in reply, got off to a decent start, making 36/1 in the powerplay phase. However, a few wickets brought India back.

Over the seven overs after powerplay, India conceded only 36 runs and picked three wickets. But 15 runs off Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav’s (2/30) fourth over brought the Sri Lankans back. Kuldeep had earlier picked two wickets to peg the home side back.

With 46 required off 36 balls and six wickets in hand, the odds were in Sri Lanka’s favour. India picked a couple of more wickets but de Silva and Chamika Karunaratne (12 off 6), who hit a six off Bhuvneshwar, saw the host through.

Due to nine players in isolation, India were forced to hand T20 International debut to four players — Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, and Chetan Sakariya. Padikkal and Gaikwad made their international debuts.

The Covid-affected Krunal Pandya was among those who missed the match.

Earlier, before the match started, the Board of Control for Cricket in India had drafted the five net bowlers – Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, R Sai Kishore and Simarjeet Singh – into the squad for T20Is on Wednesday and Thursday.

None of these reserve players, however, played the second game on Wednesday.

Brief scores:

India 132/5 in 20 overs (S Dhawan 40, D Padikkal 29, A Dananjaya 2/29, R Gaikwad 21) lost to Sri Lanka 133/6 in 19.4 overs (D de Silva 40 not out, M Bhanuka 36, K Yadav 2/30) by four wickets

 

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