Updated: Feb 28
Brief Scores: India 148/4 (16.5 overs) (S Iyer 73*, R Jadeja 22*, L Kumara 2-39) defeated Sri Lanka 146/5 (20 overs) (D Shanaka 74*, D Chandimal 25, A Khan 2-23, M Siraj 1-22) by 6-wickets.
After sealing the T20I series by 2-0 in the 2nd T20I at Dharamshala, which incidentally was their 11th successive victory in the format, India needed another consolidating victory for the series white-wash. Rohit Sharma and co. needed one basic strategy to leverage and win the game at the same venue they had played on during the 2nd T20I yesterday. On the other hand, Sri Lanka took the ground to perform well and not succumb to half chances and win the game and save some pride.
Since Ishan Kishan was hit on the helmet and hospitalized (later discharged), he was made to sit out, so the skipper promoted Sanju Samson up the batting order as the opener. Other notable changes in India’s squad were mostly that of the bowling unit where Kuldeep Yadav came in for Yuzvendra Chahal, while Avesh Khan and Mohammed Siraj came in for Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar respectively.
For Sri Lanka, skipper Dasun Shanaka made a couple of changes and brought in Janith Liyanage and Jeffrey Vandersay, while Praveen Jayawickrama and Kamil Mishara were benched.
The pitch at Dharamshala
The pitch had less grass and was hard with some scratches. Despite Sri Lanka posting a competitive target of 184 runs, Indian batters chased the target rather comfortably with 17 balls to spare. The pitch did offer wickets to both spinners and pacers, especially during the first innings. Bowling during the 2nd innings was difficult as the dew factor did come into play. Despite that, Sri Lanka's skipper won the toss and elected to bat first, for the same quest of posting a huge total and relying on the bowlers to defend the total.
Avesh-Siraj paralyze SL scoring, SL managed just one boundary during the powerplay
Unlike the 2nd T20I, Sri-Lankan openers failed to replicate the last night’s heroics as they departed cheaply. Danushka Gunathilaka chopped onto his stumps off Mohammad Siraj’s delivery that outplayed him for a duck. Sri Lanka lost their first wicket in the first over of the innings. The second wicket rather came quickly when Prathum Nissanka, the highest run-scorer from last night with a 75-run knock blew big time and carted the ball towards Venkatesh Iyer towards the mid-off and departed for just one run. Sri Lanka lost the second wicket, as Avesh Khan, who played his second T20I of his career got his wicket. Sri Lanka was off to a horrific start after having lost both the openers cheaply over the pressure mounted by India.
Runs had dried up and as a result of the burden, Avesh Khan got his second wicket in the 4th over of the match. He sent back Charith Asalanka who was undone by the extra bounce of the surface and departed for 4 runs off 6 deliveries. Rohit Sharma didn’t hesitate to provide 3-overs each to Mohammad Siraj and Avesh Khan as they bound Sri-Lanka to 18/3 in the powerplay with just one boundary scored off it.
Sri Lanka’s run rate continued to trottle; managed 78/5 after 15-overs
India kept building the pressure on the visitors by introducing the spinner Ravi Bishnoi and Kuldeep Yadav. Both the spinner bowled in discipline and pitched tight lines and lengths, with varying pace and seemingly made as if every run was coming for a price of dipping run rate. Ravi Bishnoi, who had a fabulous series against the West Indies, gave the fourth breakthrough as he earned the better of Janith Liyanage (scored 9 off 19) who failed to read the wrong ‘un and departed after a struggling stay at the crease. On the other end, Kuldeep Yadav bowled a miserly spell, as Sri Lanka was limping at 43/4 after 10 overs with skipper Dasun Shanaka (7* runs) and Dinesh Chandimal (13* runs) in the middle.
Just when a new partnership was prospering between Chandimal and Shanaka, Harshal Patel came and trapped Chandimal (scored 25 off 27) at the backward point where Venkatesh Iyer grabbed a phenomenal catch. The only positive for them was skipper Shanaka who had an absolute blast less than 24 hours ago but at 78/5 after 15-overs, a challenging total sensed so tough to achieve.
Carnage from half-centurion Shanaka fired Sri-Lanka to admiring 146/5 after 20-overs
India didn’t enjoy their slog overs in bowling leaking so many runs and specially Harshal Patel was treated like a young kid last night. Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne began the same phase hitting Patel for nine runs and went on adding 12 more runs off Siraj’s over. The Lankan scorecard had received some much-needed fuel.
Sri Lanka captain kept on swinging his willow as the pair brought up the 50-run partnership; all of a sudden, the Indian bowling had come under a bit of enforcement. Soon, Shanaka piled up his respective fifty as Avesh Khan too had been wrecked for 19-runs. With another 12 runs in the last over, Dasun Shanaka advanced to 74 runs off 37 deliveries and helped Sri Lanka to a respectable total of 146/5.
Just like the 2nd T20I, most of the crucial runs for SL came in the final five overs. SL scored 68 runs for no damage in the last five overs.
Iyer continued his impressive time to steady the hosts; India 47-1 after the powerplay
Rohit Sharma opened the Innings with Sanju Samson but the former on his 125th T20I, most for any player, failed to get into his usual run-scoring rhythm. He fell trap to Dushmantha Chameera, who dismissed the Indian skipper for the sixth time as Chamika Karunaratne took the excellent running catch towards the mid-off. Rohit Sharma departed after scoring five runs off nine deliveries.
The only man who had been doing the right thing was Shreyas Iyer; he kicked off from where he had finished in the last two matches; over the keeper or the bowler’s head, on-side or off-side, the ball was traveling everywhere off his willow and most essentially, he made it looked so easy. Samson from the other end too changed his color, as the pair stabled India after an early blow to 47/1 after the powerplay.
Shreyas Iyer’s rich vein of form inched India towards the T20I series clean-sweep
The visitors though fought back with the wicket of Samson, who nicked off a faint edge to depart on 18; again, a start for him had been spoiled. New man, Deepak Hooda did take some time to get settled but Shreyas Iyer ensured that India didn’t lose the momentum as he went on with his crunchy shots. Meanwhile, Hooda now progressed wild as India raced away to 86/2 after 10-overs. The required rate was well about just six RPO.
Lahiru Kumara though grew some smile among his teammates as he curtailed Hooda’s innings over with a cracking yorker. But Shreyas Iyer was unstoppable, as he raced to his third straight fifty with a fabulous six in the 12th over. In between Sri Lanka suffered another blow as their bowler Jeffrey Vandersay left the field in between his spell due to an injury.
The opponents thought again received hope as they picked up Venkatesh Iyer early. But Ravindra Jadeja looked solid again to take India to 123/4 after 15-overs. He scored 22* runs off 15 deliveries and did the finishing duties with Shreyas Iyer in the match.
Jadeja-Iyer finished things off to win by six wickets
The fielding wasn’t up to the mark for the Lankans as both the batters looked to finish it early. And the right person finished it off for the home side, with a nice flick on the onside for a boundary, Shreyas Iyer finished the sides unbeaten and perhaps had grabbed the spot. He ransacked SL bowlers for nine boundaries and a six in his unbeaten 73* runs off 45 balls.
India clinched another whitewash by six wickets while Shreyas Iyer won both player of the match as well as player of the series awards for scoring 204 runs and remaining unbeaten in all three matches.
What to look forward to
Both teams will now fly to Mohali for the first of two Test match series that will begin on March 4. It’s going to be a huge occasion for Indian fans as the former skipper, Virat Kohli will walk on to play his 100th Test match.
Here are some of the top twitter reactions from IND vs SL, 3rd T20I, Dharamsala: