Sri Lanka beat India in T20I tri-series opener


Kusal Perera fifty seals five-wicket win for Sri Lanka

Colombo, March 6: Sri Lanka overcame India in the first game of the Nidahas T20I tri-series by five wickets at Colombo on Tuesday. Chasing 175 to win, Kushal Perera smashed 66 off 37 balls (4x6s, 6x4s) to set the tone as the hosts started their campaign on a winning note with nine balls to spare.
Perera was in some mood tonight as he smashed Indian bowlers all around over the park with pacer Shardul Thakur bearing the brunt of his assault, leaking 27 runs in his first over of the night. He struck him for three straight fours followed by a six over mid-off. Stunned by the hiding, Shardul ended up bowling a waist-high no-ball and ended up being hit for two more fours. Sri Lanka sprinted to their fifty in 3.4 overs and by the time Powerplay was over, had scored 75/2.
Earlier, Dhawan hit 90 off 49 to guide India to a challenging total after they lost two wickets inside two overs. Captain Rohit Sharma (0) and Suresh Raina (1) fell cheaply after being sent in by Sri Lanka. Then Dhawan and Manish Pandey (37) got together to repair the early damage with a solid 95-run stand for the third wicket.
Dushmantha Chameera gave India a big jolt in the first over itself when he had Rohit caught by Jeevan Mendis who took a breath-taking diving catch while running back from mid-off. Suresh Raina was then clean bowled off a full toss in the second over leaving India in a spot of bother at 9/2. However, Dhawan snatched back the momentum with a strokeful innings during which he hit six fours and six sixes. He reached his fifth T20I fifty off 30 deliveries and was looking set to record a maiden ton when he was caught at long-off in the 18th over. While Dhawan played a flowing innings, his partner was scratchy and in his effort to score quickly, Pandey holed out for 35-ball 37. Rishabh Pant (23) and Dinesh Karthik (13*) applied the finishing touches as India creamed 50 runs off their final five overs.
However, Kusal Perera was in murderous mood as his assault ensured a comfortable victory for Sri Lanka – their first over India in the format since February 2016.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 175/5 (Kusal Perera 66, Danushka Gunathilaka 19; Washington Sundar 2/28, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/37) beat India 174/5 (Shikhar Dhawan 90, Manish Pandey 37; Dushmantha Chameera 2/33) (TNN)