The action and drama of last few overs
Live Cricket Score - India v Sri Lanka, 1st T20I
With 40 runs needed off the last four overs, and Dasun Shanaka still at the crease, Sri Lanka were certainly in the hunt. Shanaka, who has played some crucial hands for Sri Lanka in the past, lifted Umran Malik over deep square-leg to bring the equation down to 34 off 22. However, in the same over, he sliced a 155 kph delivery from Umran to extra cover where Yuzvendra Chahal pouched a fine catch. Umran's sheer skiddy pace messed up Shanaka's footwork to some extent.
Despite losing Maheesh Theekshana at the other end, Chamika Karunaratne didn't give up. He pulled Harshal Patel for a six in the penultimate over. Hardik Pandya then trusted Axar to bowl the last over. Although Hardik himself had one over left to bowl. Karunaratne did land a six off the third ball of the over to bring the equation down to just 5 off 3 balls. But the visitors added only two runs off the last three balls and also lost two wickets via the run-out mode as Sri Lanka slipped to a heart-wrenching loss. Karunaratne would be a dejected man as the last ball was in the slot but the all-rounder couldn't get underneath it.
On the other hand, Axar held his nerve by watching the feet of the batter all the way through and bowled it wider of off-stump. It basically turned into a cat and mouse game as Karunaratne left both those deliveries thinking it would be adjudged as wides but it wasn't to be. Axar also mixed up his pace nicely and changed the angle.
Pace, pace and more pace
Shanaka kept Sri Lanka in the hunt by cracking three sixes including one six off Umran. But the fast bowler came roaring back by dismissing the Sri Lanka skipper with a 155 kph ball! Shanaka could only slice the ball to extra cover.
Umran's skiddy pace through the air can certainly mess up the footwork of a batter.
The dream debut continues!
Mavi's T20I debut has just got better. Hasaranga has lifted a slower one from Mavi straight to Hardik. In fact, Hasaranga and Shanaka were just beginning to send a few alarm bells in the Indian camp. At the right juncture, Mavi has struck.
Harshal takes another one
Harshal also dislodged Rajapaksa with his trademark slower one. However, in the process of taking the catch, Hardik seemed to have hurt his right leg. Although as Deep Dasgupta suggested on commentary that it might be just cramps.
For the moment, he has gone off the field with SKY taking over leadership duties.
Superb catch from Ishan Kishan!! The wicketkeeper called for the catch and ran all way to fine leg and pouched it. And he grabbed the catch with a dive. Ishan had full conviction that he would grab the chance. An astonished Hardik can only stand and laugh.
Umran with the wicket and Asalanka the man dismissed. The set Kusal Mendis then fell to Harshal Patel. Sri Lanka in some trouble now.
Mavi's dream debut
The same pattern continues. Mavi once again based his method on pitching the ball up, with Dhananjaya cracking a couple of boundaries. Eventually, Mavi got one to straighten and Dhananjaya could only eke out a leading edge to Samson.
There is a decent covering of grass and that is helping a skiddy pitch-it-up bowler like Mavi.
Fours and a wicket
Now, that turned out to be an interesting first over from Mavi. He kept bowling fuller as Mendis lofted and drove him for boundaries. But Mavi was rewarded for pitching the ball up as he got one to nip back into the right-handed Nissanka to clean him up.
Top over to kickstart the chase from Hardik Pandya. He is finding plenty of shape with the new ball and almost got a wicket as well when a leading edge from Pathum Nissanka was almost caught by a diving Sanju Samson. It will be interesting to see if the other seamers find some assistance as well.
Sri Lanka in pursuit of 163
A much-needed 68-run stand between Hooda and Axar has steered India to a fighting total of 162 for 5. Hooda took a heavy toll of dragged down deliveries from Hasaranga and Theekshana while Axar flicked and lofted the seamers.
Sri Lanka still would be the happier side of the two at the break.
India lose set Ishan Kishan
Hasaranga has now struck, with Ishan Kishan slog-sweeping him straight to the fielder at deep midwicket. The wicket seems a touch tacky at the moment and that isn't making it easy for the batters to play their shots.
The wickets continued to tumble as Hardik slashed one off Dilshan Madushanka to Kusal Mendis. In fact, the India captain didn't wait for the umpire's decision but decided to walk.
Dhananjaya too among the wickets
Samson survived a scare when Asalanka grassed a chance at midwicket. But he didn't last long either, as in the same over from Dhananjaya, he top-edged a slog to the short third man fielder.
Samson seemed to be trying to muscle the ball. Not sure that works for him.
SKY also falls
Chamika Karunaratne now has picked up the prized scalp of Suryakumar. The explosive batter tried to bring out one of his favourite shots - the scoop - but could only manage to spoon a catch to the fielder stationed at short fine-leg.
Sri Lanka have bounced back well after Ishan Kishan gave the hosts a rousing start.
Theekshana breaks promising stand
Ishan Kishan flicked, drove and pulled Rajitha as India collected 17 runs in the very first over. However, the street-smart Theekshana bowled a skidder to trap Gill in front. The opener paid the price for misjudging the length and attempting to pull.
With Theekshana, one has to play with a degree of caution in relation to going back. He does have that one which skids through and bowls a stump-to-stump line.
Memorable day for Gill and Mavi
Memorable day for Gill and Mavi as the duo will make their T20I debuts. Also, left-arm pace bowler Arshdeep isn't available for the first game as he hasn't recovered completely from his illness.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have opted to field, with potential dew factor turning out to be a major consideration behind their decision.
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis(w), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka(c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka
India (Playing XI): Ishan Kishan(w), Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya(c), Deepak Hooda, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Shivam Mavi, Umran Malik, Yuzvendra Chahal
Hardik: Excited. Always been excited to play for the country, but obviously leading now makes it more special. Excited to see how this new bunch of guys express themselves. We were going to bat first. Yes this is a chasing ground but we want to put ourselves in more difficult situations generally in bilaterals. Anyone who comes here we will make sure we'll give them the confidence. Two debutants today - Gill and Mavi. Arshdeep was not available.
Shanaka: Going to bowl first. Dew factor will be there later. We were doing well in T20Is except the World Cup. We are following the routines. Got the same batting line-up we had previously. Bowlers will be changed.
The T20I series against Sri Lanka is a chance for some of the fringe players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Umran Malik, Sanju Samson, Mavi and co. to make an impact and establish themselves in the Indian side in the shortest format. Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya would be keen to chart another successful campaign under his leadership.
On the other hand, the Dasun Shanaka-led Sri Lankan side would be hoping to put behind all the injury woes in the T20 World Cup and start afresh. Dilshan Madushanka was one of those bowlers who suffered an injury in the World Cup. The left-arm pacer, who is known for generating swing at waspish pace, would be looking forward to impress in what could be his comeback game.
Here's the preview for the opening T20I.