Dinesh Chandimal sparkles with a charming ton
Sri Lanka were splendid today; they hustled on the field, the spinners kept hauling them back when India threatened to break free, and Dinesh Chandimal made the chase look ridiculously easy with a charming ton.
Sometimes the hunter becomes the hunted: If India were to get the bonus point that would have helped them in the quest to enter the final, they had to restrict Sri Lanka to 214 but for a while it appeared that it was Sri Lanka who were going for the bonus point. The chase was potentially tricky but it never became one as Chandimal's sparkling knock gave Sri Lanka total control of the chase.
When Tillakaratne Dilshan fell after a breezy 21, Sri Lanka were at 29 for 1 and you wondered whether they might slow down if not stutter but Chandimal unfurled an attractive innings to ensure that the run-rate never dropped. He impressed with his shot selection, his footwork and his aggressive bent of mind: He walked down the track to lift Pankaj Singh over mid-on, welcomed Pragyan Ojha into the attack with a six over long-off and later smashed him over long-on and crashed R Ashwin over long-off and long-on. And all these sashays down the track were made possible because he used the crease well, often dropping well back to create his own length for his cut shots against the spinners. And, so when the spinners tried to correct the length by hurling it fuller, he responded with his more adventurous hits. And he looked pretty secure in defense too. Unlike Upul Tharanga, who often groped outside the line, Chandimal offered the full bat-face in defense.