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PHOTOS: What an amazing fightback!

By Rediff Cricket
Last updated on: August 25, 2017 06:59 IST
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India lose 7 wickets for 22 runs. Defeat seems certain.
Then the Master and an unlikely disciple take charge.

IMAGE: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, left, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni refused to be daunted by the prospect of defeat. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Bhuvneshwar Kumar hit an unbeaten half century, his first in ODIs as Mahendra Singh Dhoni played a composed innings (45 not out) as India survived a sensational batting collapse to outclass Sri Lanka by 3 wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis method to take a 2-0 lead in the five match series, in Pallekele, on Thursday, August 24.

Bhuvneshwar finished unbeaten on 53 from 80 balls as he put on 100 runs from 135 balls for the eighth wicket with Dhoni.

India registered its 16th win in its last 20 ODIs against Sri Lanka.


Dhoni and Bhuvi rescued India after they were tottering on 131/7 stage courtesy mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya who had sensational figures of 6/54 in 10 overs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

IMAGE: Bhuvi hits a boundary. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

India were cruising on 109 for no wicket before they lost 7 wickets for 22 runs in the space of six overs.

Rohit Sharma stroked a quickfire 54 from 45 balls while Shikhar Dhawan made 49 before K L Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel all perished cheaply.

Dhoni brought all his sterling experience into play as he mentored Bhuvneshwar early on with the duo dealing in singles and twos to build a partnership.

Towards the end of the innings Dhoni inside edged left-arm Vishwa Fernando on to his stumps, but the bails refused to be dislodged.

Dhoni soaked in the pressure as Bhuvneshwar initially played a lot of dot balls.

Once the partnership crossed 40, Bhuvi showed that he is more than a capable batsman.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

IMAGE: MS in action. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Bhuvi hit Dananjaya for two boundaries in the 40th over and the match decisively swung in India's favour.

The game ended in an anti-climax when the winning run came through a wide.

Fifteen minutes of mayhem left the Indian batting in disarray.

IMAGE: Akila Dananjaya celebrates. The mystery spinner had amazing figures of 6/54. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Chasing a revised target post the rain interruption, India were cruising along with Rohit in sublime touch alongside the in form Dhawan.

The duo put on 109 runs for the opening stand before Dananjaya had Rohit leg before after he missed the sweep.

In the next over, left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana got rid of Dhawan who also perished trying the sweep with Angelo Mathews taking an amazing catch.

Drama unfolded in the 18th over when the Indians were unable to read Dananjaya's googly.

Jadhav (1) didn't show any footwork as the googly rifled into the middle and leg stump.

IMAGE: Sri Lanka's players congratulate Akila after he took K L Rahul's wicket. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

In a couple of deliveries, Kohli (4) was deceived by flight as he was bowled.

Rahul suffered the same fate in the same over.

In his very next over Dananjaya had his maiden five wicket haul in ODIs when Hardik Pandya (0) jumped down the track and was beaten to be stumped by Niroshan Dickwella.

Axar Patel was Dananjaya's sixth victim when he was trapped leg before before Bhuvni joined forces with Dhoni.

India were looking down the barrel at 131/7.

Exactly 100 runs were needed for an unlikely win.

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah, right, after he snapped up Niroshan Dickwella's wicket. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Jasprit Bumrah took four wickets as India limited Sri Lanka to 236/8.

Sri Lanka were tottering on 121/5 at one stage before a 91 run stand between Milinda Siriwardana (58) and the experienced Chamara Kapugedera (40) enabled the home team to arrive at a total of some respectability.

Kohli won his fifth consecutive toss on the tour and opted to field.

Niroshan Dickwella (31) and Danushka Gunathilaka (19) gave Sri Lanka a quickfire start.

Dickwella took on India's pacers and hit two sixes off Bumrah.

Bumrah had his revenge when he had Dickwella caught at short midwicket in the eighth over. The left-hander was brilliantly caught by Dhawan.

IMAGE: Axar Patel dismissed Angelo Mathews. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Gunathilaka strugged to get going before he was deceived by a googly from leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and was stumped by Dhoni.

It was The Great Man's 99th stumping in ODIs, equalling Kumar Sangakkara's record in fewer games.

Captain Upul Tharanga's poor run with the bat against India continued as he edged Pandya in the slips after scoring nine.

IMAGE: Yuzvendra Chahal deceived Danushka Gunathilaka with a googly. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Kusal Mendis was out leg before sweeping Chahal to leave Sri Lanka in trouble on 99/4 in the 24th over.

Mathews perished to a similar shot when he tried to sweep Axar Patel. missed and was judged leg before for 20.

Siriwardana and Kapugedara then rallied the Sri Lankans with a resolute partnership. The duo took a few risks in the middle overs and kept the scoreboard moving with singles and twos against the Indian spinners.

They put on 50 runs off 63 balls and took Lanka past the 200 mark in the 43rd over.

IMAGE: Sri Lankan Skipper Upul Tharanga has had a miserable series. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Siriwardana brought up his third ODI half-century off 49 balls, but was dismissed soon after, caught in the covers off Bumrah.

Another procession of wickets followed.

Only 24 runs came in the final five overs as Bumrah picked up wickets at regular intervals.

He bowled Kapugedara with a quick yorker in the 47th over, then had Dhananjaya caught at mid-off in his next over to finish with four wickets.

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