Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka led from the front by scoring a sparkling unbeaten 56 as Sri Lanka beat India by 16 runs in the second T20 international to level the three match series 1-1.
After being asked to bat first by Indian skipper Hardik Pandya, openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis got Sri Lanka off to a blistering start. The duo added 80 runs for the opening stand before Yuzvendra Chahal broke the partnership by dismissing Mendis leg before wicket for a 31 ball-52.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa (2) who was sent in at No 3, departed cheaply chopping at an Umran Malik delivery onto his stumps. Nissanka (33) then fell to a well judged catch at deep midwicket boundary by Rahul Tripathi off Axar Patel.
Axar then claimed his second wicket when Dhananjaya de Silva miscued one to Deepak Hooda at long on boundary. Young sensation Umran Malik pegged the visitors back by claiming the dangerous Charith Asalanka (37) and Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva (0) off consecutive deliveries, as the Islanders slumped to 138/6.
Shanaka provided a last flourish by slamming a quickfire unbeaten 22 ball-56 to take Sri Lanka to a mammoth score of 206/6 in their allotted 20 overs.
Left arm young pacer Arshdeep Singh who returned to the playing XI after injury, had an horror day as he bowled five no balls in his two over spell including three in a row.
Chasing 207, Kasun Rajitha put the hosts in the backfoot- first by cleaning up Ishan Kishan (2) and then claiming Shubman Gill caught at mid on by Maheesh Theekshana for 5.
Debutant Rahul Tripathi then edged a delivery from Dilshan Madushanka to wicket keeper Kusal Mendis for 5, leaving their side in a spot of bother at 21/3.
Skipper Hardik Pandya fell to an outstanding catch by Mendis flying to his right off Chamika Karunaratne for 12.
The pair of Suryakumar Yadav and Deepak Hooda added 23 runs for the fifth wicket before the latter ended up slicing one to long on off Hasaranga, as the hosts lost half their side for 57.
However Suryakumar along with Axar Patel brought the innings back on track with a superb 91 run stand for the sixth wicket before Madushanka then dented India’s hopes by dismissing the former caught at long on, while attempting another big hit for a well made 51. His knock came off 36 balls with three fours and three sixes.
Axar was involved in yet another crucial 41 run stand for the seventh wicket along with Shivam Mavi. Mavi provided a glimper of hope for the hosts by smashing Madushanka for two fours and a six to bring the equation down to 33 off 12 balls.
The 28 year old Axar’s fantastic knock of 65 ended, when he was caught at long off boundary by Karunaratne off Shanaka as the hosts finished at 190/8, giving the visitors a 16 run win.
The third and the final T20 international will be played at Rajkot on January 7, Saturday.
Sri Lanka 206 for 6 (Shanaka 56*, Kusal 52, Malik 3-48, Axar 2-24) beat India 190 for 8 (Axar 65, Suryakumar 51, Shanaka 2-4, Rajitha 2-22) by 16 runs