A fighting knock from Pathum Nissanka (75 off 53) and an attacking cameo by Dasun Shanaka (47 not out off 19) propelled Sri Lanka to 183-5 against India in the second T20I of the three-match series, at the picturesque HPCA Stadium, here on Saturday.
Apart from Nissanka and Shanaka, Danushka Gunathilaka also played a vital knock (38 off 29) for the visitors.
Put in to bat first, openers Pathum Nissanka and Danushka Gunathilaka gave Sri Lanka a slow start. India's new-ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah got plenty of swing and with their disciplined length and line, they tested Sri Lanka's batters.
After bowling two overs each of Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah in tandem, skipper Rohit Sharma introduced Harshal Patel into the attack in the 5th over and both Gunathilaka and Nissanka picked boundaries while stepping out of the crease. Yuzvendra Chahal then conceded seven runs off his first over as Sri Lanka managed to post 32 runs in the powerplay without any wicket.
After the first six overs, the Sri Lanka batters grew in confidence, especially against the spinners and rotated the strike well. They also picked a few occasional boundaries as well and completed their 50-run opening partnership in the 8th over.
It was Ravindra Jadeja, who gave India their first wicket in the 9th over. After conceding 16 runs off the first three deliveries, Jadeja dismissed Gunathilaka in the fourth ball of the over. The left-hander attempted to loft a fullish delivery over mid-wicket but found a top-edge and Venkatesh Iyer took a good catch near long-on.
Charith Asalanka, who came to bat next, couldn't do much and was dismissed by Chahal for two runs. The batter was trapped in front of the wicket while trying to play a sweep. Harshal Patel with his slower one then got rid of Kamil Mishara (1), leaving Sri Lanka at 76-3 after 10.6 overs.
Despite the flurry of wickets at the other end, opener Nissanka remained undeterred and continued to play his shots, picking 12 runs in the 13th over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He had a brief partnership of 26 runs with Dinesh Chandimal for the fourth wicket, before the latter was dismissed by Bumrah, leaving the visitors at 102-4 after 14.4 overs.
With around five overs to go, Nissanka was running out of partners and needed support from his captain Dasun Shanaka, who came in to bat. Soon, Nissanka completed his fifty in style, hitting Chahal for a boundary towards cover. Thereafter, skipper Shanaka also showed his batting skills by smashing Harshal for two sixes in his over and overall taking 19 runs off the over along with Nissanka.
Bumrah who bowled the next over also conceded 14 runs as Nissanka cleverly capitalised on the full tosses bowled by the pacer and brought his 50 runs stand with Shanaka in merely 22 deliveries. In the last delivery of the 19th over, Bhuvneshwar finally dismissed Nissanka (75), who tried to play a reverse slap was trapped in front of the wicket.
However, it didn't affect Sri Lanka's run flow as Shanaka smashed Harshal for 23 runs in the last over. The Sri Lankan skipper overall slammed five sixes during his unbeaten 47 off 19 balls and took Sri Lanka to 183/5 in 20 overs.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 183-5 in 20 overs (Pathum Nissanka 75, Dasun Shanaka 47 not out; Jasprit Bumrah 1/24) vs India