India v Sri Lanka, 1st T20I, Pune February 9, 2016

Sri Lanka seamers topple India on green track


Sri Lanka 105 for 5 (Chandimal 35, Nehra 2-21) beat India 101 (Ashwin 31, Rajitha 3-29, Shanaka 3-16) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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India's win-loss ratio of 0.625 at home

Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera and Dasun Shanaka - Sri Lanka's lanky seam-bowling labour force - came upon a thoroughly surprising green Pune deck, and wound up delivering their team a surprisingly thorough victory. The three quicks took eight wickets for 59 between them, to blow India away for 101. Sri Lanka's inexperienced batsmen were rarely at ease in pursuit, but did well enough to get to the target with five wickets in hand and two overs to spare.

Chameera had provided glimpses at his penetrative potential during the recent tour of New Zealand, but Rajitha and Shanaka had gone unheralded until today. If Binura Fernando - the left-arm quick - had not injured a hamstring ahead of this match, Rajitha might not even have debuted. Instead, he claimed two wickets in a tone-setting first over and finished with 3 for 29. Shanaka is in the team largely for his batting, but bowled magic deliveries through the middle overs, uprooting Suresh Raina's leg stump with an in-dipper, and bouncing MS Dhoni second ball. He took 3 for 16.

Fresh from Australian run-gluts, India's route to defeat was paved with over-ambition. Even after the pitch had proved itself spicy, big shots continued to be attempted. Edges kept being collected. Wickets continued to tumble. The biggest stand of their innings was between R Ashwin and Ashish Nehra, who put on 28 for the eighth wicket. Without Ashwin's 31 not out, their total might have been closer to 80.

Sri Lanka's innings appeared to be heading in the same direction at 23 for 2 in the fifth over, but Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera combined for 39 tension-relieving runs. Three late wickets fell, but the target was so small, even this scratchy batting performance was more than good enough. The victory puts Sri Lanka back on top of the ICC T20 rankings.

It was Rajitha who first put the fire in a young Sri Lanka team. Barely heard of before he took five wickets in a tour match against the Indians in August last year, he delivered an immaculate first international over, seaming the ball sharply away from right-handers, and generating fine pace and carry. His first wicket came second ball. The length delivery stopped a little on Rohit Sharma, who hit aerially down the ground. Chameera moved across from mid-off to help a stick-thin fast-bowling brother out, diving feet off the ground to pouch that catch. Clearly excited by that scalp, Rajitha ended the over with a seaming short ball at Ajinkya Rahane, whose leading edge carried to an advancing cover.

He had a catch dropped off Raina's inside edge in between, but Rajitha soon had a third wicket, in the fifth over. Then Shanaka took over, bowling slower, but just as accurately. The Raina-Dhoni double blow in his first over put India at 51 for 5. It also doubled Shanaka's wicket-tally in all T20s. He had played in 26 matches before this, and was called upon to bowl in less than a quarter of those games.

Chameera troubled the middle order with raw pace until Ashwin picked India off the floor with a sensible approach and excellent timing. He smoked Chameera through the leg side for four first ball, but largely awaited the bad deliveries to play his big shots. In the end, Ashwin just ran out of partners - Nehra succumbing to Chameera's pace and Jasprit Bumrah running himself out, in the 19th over.

Nehra dismissed Sri Lanka's openers, who were also guilty of attempting too many boundaries while the ball was still zipping around. Chandimal and Kapugedera were streaky but smart, looking for singles and twos, with the required rate always under a run-a-ball. Chandimal top-scored with 35, Kapugedera hit 25.

MS Dhoni banked on spin through the middle overs, and the slow bowlers did remove Kapugedara, Chandimal and, later, Shanaka. But Sri Lanka had stacked their side with allrounders again, and batted deep. Milinda Siriwardana was on hand to apply the finish, hitting 21 not out from 14. Ashwin was the best of India's bowlers as well, picking up 2 for 13 from his three overs.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sajith on February 11, 2016, 17:54 GMT

    @kargilboy, you just saying indians are flat track bullys after all... Finnaly some truth from an indian... Mate, and 5-0 in AUS isn't thrash? Last time Sri Lanka visited AUS we drawn ODIs 2-2 and won t20 series...

  • Chamath on February 11, 2016, 14:52 GMT

    I think lndian master plan went horribly wrong in pune. They made a green top to suit indian batsmen who are fresh from Australia. Instead, they made greenish sponge and succumbed to that. funny thing is that dhoni blamed the pitch (as usual) as he didn't knew anyrhing.

  •   Tharindu Lakshan on February 11, 2016, 13:20 GMT

    Thank you Grahame Ford.Please build this inexperienced Sri Lankan team to make more glory as it happens during the era of sanga and Mahela.

  • cool on February 11, 2016, 13:13 GMT

    even small nations can topple established cricket forces since one or two good overs - in either bowling or batting, change the match situation quickly. And that makes it interesting to watch.

  • Dinuka on February 11, 2016, 12:16 GMT

    Doesn't anyone feel great about young Sri Lankan team? Without the experience how they handled the situation? Win or Lose I love the team. Energy in the team was over the moon. Lucky to see such powered team. When they start batting in the way they are used to it'll be the best T20 game. It is going to happen. Chandi looked so happy what else a captain with such a well performing team can do.

  • Ajith Iroshana on February 11, 2016, 12:00 GMT

    Sri lanka Can Easy Win This Tournament india only can watch lion proud

  • ahmed on February 11, 2016, 11:44 GMT

    @scooby007 Nagpur would help sc teams more especially SL having lots of mystery spinners bro just one fluke victory ur stating like this.the full strength SL produced green top at SSC test for Indians they won toss and send Ind bat u know the result in the same green top they thrashed SL in SL.similarly lords England and Capetown sa .Indian batsman technical adaptive they can score any where but after whitewashing aus in aus they underestimate SL .look fall of wickets they were targeting 200 there.don't worry batting records will be shattered .this game they try to beat nz .they try to play 20-6 match with SL .SL got lucky escape. and they r jumping.first little lions went home now bigger lions will.

  • Harmon on February 11, 2016, 10:41 GMT

    @5wombats: -------"The problem we have is with some of the fans - fans who ignore and forget their own teams defeats but somehow manage to remember and comment on everyone else's. They always seem to have an opinion and to be ready to swipe at other teams - but they don't like it when others swipe back with facts. All we are doing is pointing out facts."------- Lovely. That is lovely. You are speaking absolutely the right stuff for ppl like yourself. Allergy to facts is a very common problem with this ilk. So many times I have shown facts to them but on most occasions they disappear when a rebuttal is beyond them. Imagine an Eng fan making light of Ind WC win saying it came at home when his home team has never won the WC even after hosting it 4 times, or not ack Ind ICC-CT win that came at his own home. I mean isn't that height of hypocrisy & jealousy? An Eng fan is using half-facts to paint a speckled Ind picture when his own picture is paintless, frameless, paperless tch tch..

  • Anver on February 11, 2016, 9:26 GMT

    What a stunning effort by SL young seamers !!! debutante Rajitha had a memorable outing, ably supported by a another newcomer Shanka, against this strong IND unit. After whitewashing Aussies in Aus, beating IND in Ind by this young SL team is really admirable.... wish SL will go for another win in 2nd T20 & clinch an upset series win against this over hyped Indian team !!! GOOD LUCK !!!

  • Saq on February 11, 2016, 9:05 GMT

    @Bruce Lamberton: Since SL won without a full team on a green pitch, I don't expect Ind to dish out any other green pitch, especially in the T20WC. SL should prepare themselves for something similar to the Nagpur pitch in the next match.

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