India 225 (Shaw 49, Samson 46, Dananjaya 3-44, Jayawickrama 3-59) lost to Sri Lanka 227/7 (Fernando 76, Bhanuka 65, Rahul Chahar 3-54) by 3 wickets in 47-Over Game
In the ongoing India tour of Sri Lanka 2021, despite losing the ODI series 2-1, Sri Lanka would be happy with their performance against India in particular departments in the ODI series, especially their spinners’ performance. It was Sri Lanka's first win in the last 11 ODIs at home against Team India.
They were outclassed in the first game but played some good cricket in the following two ODIs. Avishka Fernando, who got starts in the first two ODIs made sure he plays a big knock in the final one and guide the team home.
India’s team management’s decision to make six changes, including five debutants, backfires
Team India rang in as many as six changes in the final ODI in a bid to give opportunities to youngsters included in the squad. All the front-line bowlers who played the first two ODIs were rested as India came up with a new bowling attack. They paid the price though, as they lost the game by 3 wickets in the end.
Debutant wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson and Prithvi Shaw stitched a 74-run partnership for the second wicket to give India a good start in the first innings. Samson scored 46 off 46, while Shaw amassed 49 off 49. At 147 for 3 in 23 overs, India were in a strong position before rain played spoilsport. However, the Men in Blue fell in quick succession in the second phase of the innings.
Suryakumar Yadav made a vital 40 off 37, however, none of the other middle-order batters made a strong impression. There wasn’t a single 50-run knock throughout the innings as India found themselves bundled out for 225 in 43.1 overs. Due to the rain delay, Sri Lanka’s revised target worked out to be 227 runs in 47 overs as per the Duckworth-Lewis system.
There were a couple of impressive performances from Rahul Chahar and Chetan Sakariya in the bowling unit during the second innings. In the field, India had a disappointed outing as they dropped as many as five catches. Overall, Team India lacked steam as Sri Lanka, on the back of Avishka Fernando’s 76 and Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 65, chased down the target in 39 overs in the end.
India tour of Sri Lanka 2021: Here’s a look at three major takeaways from the game:
Sri Lanka getting in the groove
On Saturday, Sri Lanka ended India’s winning streak against them at home since 2012 after winning the third ODI by 3 wickets. Also, this was their second win in 11 ODIs played this year. A lot of players missed out in the series for a variety of reasons and thus Sri Lanka would be pretty pleased with the way they played.
Ahead of the upcoming T20 series, Sri Lanka are now looking a much better side. Avishka Fernando and Wanindu Hasaranga’s impressive run should be a big positive for them going ahead. Destructive top-order batsman, Bhanuka Rajapaksa has found form just at the right time, having scored a vital 65-run knock in the last ODI. Moreover, runs coming from Asalanka and Chamika Karunaratne should hold them in good stead.
Sri Lanka played two new spinners in Akila Danajaya and Praveen Jayawickrama in the final ODI and both impressed one and all with their exploits. The duo returned combined figures of 6 for 103 in 20 overs. Sri Lanka certainly have great spinners at their disposal, however, they need to step up in the seam bowling department. Former Sri Lanka pacer and current fast bowling coach of the team, Chaminda Vaas has some work at hand to ensure that the likes of Dushmantha Chameera find better line and length.
Revamping the entire bowling unit proves costly for India
Team India rested four experienced bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the final ODI. They were replaced with three debutants (Chetan Sakariya, Rahul Chahar, Krishnappa Gowtham) and Navdeep Saini who played his seventh ODI.
Changing the entire bowling unit did raise a lot of eyebrows and it didn’t work out too well as well for India. There wasn’t a lot of experience in the bowling unit and it was evident with the way India bowled in the second innings.
The opening spell from Chetan Sakariya and Navdeep Saini wasn’t pretty impressive. Unlike the first two ODIs, the spinners failed to bring India back into the game with quick wickets.
Sakariya, however, bowled well in the middle overs and made good use of his variations. He took two quick wickets of Rajapaksa and Dhananjaya de Silva to shift the momentum towards the Men in Blue. Rahul Chahar was the most impressive of all bowlers in the final analysis. With three quick wickets between the 33rd and 39th over, Rahul Chahal brought some hope of a comeback.
However, overall, it was a below-par bowling performance. In the hindsight, India would have regretted not adding experience in the bowling department.
Hardik’s form - A headache for Team India
The Indian all-rounder, Hardik Pandya is struggling to maintain his fitness levels. His backache continues to affect his bowling. He didn’t look to be in his element in the third ODI as well. He struggled to bowl fast and also wasn’t too accurate with his length and went for 43 runs in 5 overs, taking a solitary wicket.
He has managed to bowl only 14 overs in the series and has picked 2 wickets at an economy of over seven. Hardik's returns haven’t been pretty impressive. Add to that, he failed to play a decent innings with the bat in the series.
Hardik Pandya's inconsistent form and fitness issues could affect India’s team combination for the T20 World Cup. The management would be hoping he becomes fully fit soon and makes a valuable all-around contribution in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
India tour of Sri Lanka 2021: What lies ahead?
As the ODI series comes to an end, the focus shifts to the shortest format of the game. The T20 series is set to begin on Sunday. The first game will be played on 25th July, while the second and third game will be played on 27th and 29th July respectively.