(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Indian pace bowler Deepak Chahar played the greatest innings of his life as the Shikhar Dhawan-led India beat Sri Lanka in stunning fashion to clinch the one-day series with their second straight victory at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.
Chasing 276, India were in all sorts of trouble when they lost seven wickets for 193 in the 36th over.
But Chahar (69 not out, 82 balls, 7 fours and 1 six) held his nerve and found a solid partner in Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19 not out, 28 balls, 2 fours).
The two tail-enders shared 84 runs for the eight wicket to script a famous win for India.
Barring Suryakumar Yadav (53), other Indian batsmen failed to convert their starts as Sri Lanka looked set to register a series-leveling win.
But Chahar and Bhuvneshwar stunned the home team with their late order heroics.
Earlier, Yuzvendra Chahal and Bhuvneshwar picked three wickets apiece but Charith Asalanka (65) and Chamika Karunaratne (44*) played fighting knocks as Sri Lanka scored 275/9.
Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother at 194/6 before Asalanka’s gutsy fifty and Karunaratne’s late cameo took the hosts over the 250-run mark.
For India, Chahar backed Chahal and Bhuvneshwar as he scalped two wickets.
Opting to bat first, Sri Lanka began well as they scored 59 in the first 10 overs. Openers Minod Bhanuka (36) and Avishka Fernando (50) got Sri Lanka off to a solid start.
However, twin strikes from Chahal in the 14th over put the hosts on the back foot.
Chahal got the wickets of opener Bhanuka and Bhanuka Rajapakasa in back-to-back deliveries to put India in the driver’s seat.
Fernando steadied the innings as the hosts went past the hundred-run mark, but Bhuvneshwar sent him back as soon as the batsman completed his fifty.
Two overs later Chahar struck for India as Dhananjaya de Silva failed to convert his good start into a big score as Sri Lanka were reduced to 134/4.
Every time Sri Lanka steadied the ship a wicket fell as Chahar and Chahal kept the length tight.
Sri Lanka was on 194/6 in the 40th over when Charith Asalanka revived the hosts’ innings.
Asalanka’s fighting fifty kept Sri Lanka ticking the scoreboard as the hosts reached 244 before he got out.
In the last two overs, Sri Lanka scored 23 runs to reach 275 despite losing two wickets in the final six balls.
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