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PICS: Shreyas stars again as India sweep SL T20Is

Last updated on: February 27, 2022 23:40 IST
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Images from the third Twenty20 International between India and Sri Lanka, in Dharamsala, on Sunday.

India's Shreyas Iyer celebrates completing a half-century during the third T20 International against Sri Lanka, in Dharamsala, on Sunday.

IMAGE: India's Shreyas Iyer celebrates completing his third successive half-century during the third T20 International against Sri Lanka, in Dharamsala, on Sunday. Photograph: BCCI

Shreyas Iyer scored his third half-century in three games as India trounced Sri Lanka in the third and final Twenty20 International, in Dharamsala, on Sunday.

Chasing a meagre target of 147, Iyer blazed away for a 45-ball 73 not out, which included 9 fours and a six, to see India home in just 16.5 overs.

 

Ravindra Jadeja also finished unbeaten with 22 off 15 balls, which was studded with 3 fours.

The 3-0 series win saw India post their 12th successive T20I victory.

Ravindra Jadeja scored a 15-ball 22 not out.

IMAGE: Ravindra Jadeja scored a 15-ball 22 not out. Photograph: BCCI

The team's last three T20 home series against New Zealand, West Indies and now Sri Lanka also ended in identical 3-0 margins.

Chasing 147 was like a walk in the park for Shreyas, who came out all guns blazing to complete the chase in 16.5 overs.

Chamika Karunaratne takes the catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma.

IMAGE: Chamika Karunaratne takes the catch to dismiss Rohit Sharma. Photograph: BCCI

For someone whose game against the short ball was once found to be suspect, this will be a series to remember. He scored 57 off 28 balls in the first match and 74 off 44 in the second. His aggregate of 204 runs fetched him the Player-of-the-Series award.

His fine showing put him in contention for an elusive middle-order spot with Suryakumar Yadav, who was the Player of the Series against the West Indies before sustaining a hairline fracture on his right hand.

Chamika Karunaratne celebrates the wicket of Sanju Samson.

IMAGE: Chamika Karunaratne celebrates the wicket of Sanju Samson. Photograph: BCCI

Not only in the third match but throughout the series was Shreyas in control of the pull shot, which he practiced for hours in the nets.

He is getting in line to keep the pulls down and now presents a happy headache for skipper Rohit Sharma, who became the most capped player in T20 Internationals with 125 games, one more than Pakistan's ageless wonder, Shoaib Malik.

After the exit of Rohit (18) in the second over and Sanju Samson (18), the other opener, in the seventh over, it was Shreyas all the way as he toyed with the Lankan bowlers.

Avesh Khan celebrates with wicketkeeper Sanju Samson after dismissing Charith Asalanka.

IMAGE: India pacer Avesh Khan celebrates with wicketkeeper Sanju Samson after dismissing Sri Lank's Charith Asalanka. Photograph: BCCI

Earlier, Avesh Khan made amends for a forgettable debut as his scorching opening spell alongside Mohammed Siraj helped India restrict Sri Lanka to 146 for 5.

For Rohit, who became the most capped T20I player in world cricket with his 125th appearance in the national jersey, it was a delight to see the reserves coming out and performing on a track that had enough pace and bounce to help the speed merchants.

Captain Dasun Shanaka top-scored for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 74 off 38 balls

IMAGE: Captain Dasun Shanaka top-scored for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 74 off 38 balls. Photograph: BCCI

Wrist spinners Ravi Bishnoi (4-0-32-1) and Kuldeep Yadav (4-0-25-0) also did well enough to bottle up the islanders on a chilly night.

Strange enough, for two years Bishnoi has been only bowling googlies but with so much accuracy that the batters in the IPL and now in international cricket are yet to get the measure of him.

India pacer Mohd. Siraj celebrates bowling Sri Lanka opener Danushka Gunathilaka.

IMAGE: India pacer Mohd. Siraj celebrates bowling Sri Lanka opener Danushka Gunathilaka. Photograph: BCCI

Captain Dasun Shanaka was again Sri Lanka’s saviour with a 74 not out off 38 balls that took his team close to 150-run mark. He hit nine fours and two sixes.

But it was Avesh (4-1-23-2) and Siraj (4-0-22-1), who dismantled the Lankan top-order with pace and bounce, reducing them to 11 for 3 in the fourth over and there was no coming back from thereon.

At the end of the powerplay, the visitors were 18 for 3.

Venkatesh Iyer catches Sri Lanka opener Pathum Nissanka off Avesh Khan's bowling.

IMAGE: Venkatesh Iyer catches Sri Lanka opener Pathum Nissanka off Avesh Khan's bowling. Photograph: BCCI

Siraj started the demolition by hurrying Danushka Gunathilaka (0) with a short ball, which the batter tried to pull but only dragged it back onto the stumps.

Avesh, who went for 40-odd runs on debut -- in the third T20 International against the West Indies -- on a Eden Gardens belter, bowled fuller than his usual back-of-length stuff and sent back Pathum Nissanka (1) and Charith Asalanka (4), both deliveries hitting the bat faster than they could have comprehended.

Bishnoi bowled Janith Liyanage in the ninth over to have the Sri Lankan innings in a mess.

Janith Liyanage is bowled by Ravi Bishnoi.

IMAGE: Janith Liyanage is bowled by Ravi Bishnoi. Photograph: BCCI

Then Harshal Patel dismissed the dangerous-looking Dinesh Chandimal for 25 to pile more misery on the visitors.

Captain Shanaka took matters into his own hands and with Chamika Karunaratne (12 off 19 balls) ensured that the Lankans did not lose any more wickets before finishing with 146 for 5.

The best part about India's performance was that vice-captain Jasprit Bumrah, veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar and first choice wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal were given a much- needed break.

Ravi Bishnoi is congratulated India skipper Rohit Sharma  after dismissing Janith Liyanage.

IMAGE: Ravi Bishnoi is congratulated India skipper Rohit Sharma after dismissing Janith Liyanage. Photograph: BCCI

India’s skipper Rohit is spoilt for choice as he and coach Rahul Dravid are slowly building a set-up where they have multiple options for each and every position in both departments.

The only missing link in the T20 squad is the absence of a good off-spinner, as the Indian team management is unlikely to go back to Ravichandran Ashwin for the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Otherwise, the team looks in good health.

Chamika Karunaratne and Dasun Shanaka celebrate a boundary.

IMAGE: Chamika Karunaratne and Dasun Shanaka celebrate a boundary. Photograph: BCCI

Also consider the fact that people who are not playing this series include Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and K L Rahul.

There is Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Chahar and now Ishan Kishan getting injured at some point and Shardul Thakur being rested.

Yet, a Test specialist like Siraj and the fiery Avesh or the committed Harshal Patel (4-0-29-1) are all making their cases for selection going into the big-ticket event eight months from now.

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