COLOMBO, March 6, (Agencies): Kusal Perera struck a belligerent 66 off 37 balls to set up a five-wicket victory for hosts Sri Lanka against India in the Twenty20 Tri-Series opener at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday.
Chasing 175 for a win in the first match of the tournament, which also features Bangladesh, Sri Lanka lost their way in the middle overs but ultimately reached their target with nine balls to spare.
Put in to bat first, India got off to a wobbly start but recovered through a fine 90 from opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan to post a challenging 174 for five in their 20 overs.
Sri Lanka lost Kusal Mendis for 11 in the second over of their chase but Perera and Danushka Gunathilaka put the Indian bowlers to the sword during a 58-run second-wicket stand in just 3.3 overs.
India seamer Shardul Thakur conceded 27 runs in the third over of the innings with Perera smashing five fours and a six in that over to wrest momentum for his side.
The left-hander completed his half-century in 22 balls and hit six fours and four sixes in his knock before being out stumped to off-spinner Washington Sundar.
Sri Lanka also lost Upul Tharanga to leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal cheaply to suffer a minor hiccup before all-rounder Thisara Perera hit 22 off 10 balls to take the side home.
Earlier, India’s batting got off to a false start with the fall of stand-in captain Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in the first two overs.
Leading the side in the absence of the rested regular captain Virat Kohli, Rohit fell without scoring and it was left to Dhawan and Manish Pandey to lift the side through a third-wicket stand of 95.
Gunathilaka dismissed the dangerous Dhawan, who hit six fours and an identical number of sixes in his 49-ball knock, while Pandey made 37.
The second match of the tournament will be played between Bangladesh and India at the same venue on Thursday.
Meanwhile, cricket’s world governing body on Tuesday banned a leading Indian groundsman for six months for failing to report a corruption approach before a one-day international last year.
Pandurang Salgaonkar, who looks after the ground at Pune, was the subject of an undercover sting by the India Today TV channel, which alleged he agreed to doctor the surface before a one-day international between India and New Zealand in October 2017.
“Salgaonkar was charged with a failure to report an approach but no evidence was found of him actually having been engaged in corruption and therefore no charges were laid against him on that basis,” said an International Cricket Council statement.
The ICC decision said there was no evidence that the 68-year-old former player had agreed to accept a bribe when he met the journalists.
ICC anti-corruption manager Alex Marshall said, “I am satisfied that Mr Salgaonkar has no case to answer on the broad allegations of corruption made by India Today.”
“Mr Salgaonkar has accepted that he has committed the offence and has received a six-month suspension.”
The ban was backdated to Oct 25, meaning he will be free to work again on April 24.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India suspended Salgaonkar after the TV channel showed him promising a favourable wicket for New Zealand to reporters who posed as bookmakers.
Sri Lanka vs India T20 Scoreboard
COLOMBO, March 6, (AFP): Scoreboard of tri-nation Twenty20 international between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo on Tuesday:
- Sharma c Mendis b Chameera.. 0
- Dhawan c Perera b Gunathilaka 90
- Raina b Pradeep…………………. 1
- Pandey c Gunathilaka b Mendis 37
- Pant c Pradeep b Chameera…. 23
- Karthik not out………………….. 13
Extras (b1, lb3, w6)……………….. 10
Total (5 wickets, 20 overs)……… 174
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Sharma), 2-9 (Raina), 3-104 (Pandey), 4-153 (Dhawan), 5-174 (Pant)
Did not bat: W. Sundar, V. Shankar, S. Thakur, J. Unadkat, Y. Chahal
Bowling: Chameera 4-0-33-2 (w1), Pradeep 3-0-38-1 (w2), Dananjaya 4-0-37-0 (w1), Perera 3-0-25-0, Mendis 3-0-21-1 (w2), Gunathilaka 3-0-16-1
SRI LANKA (target 175)
- Gunathilaka c Pant b Unadkat. 19
- Mendis c Dhawan b Sundar….. 11
- Perera st Karthik b Sundar……. 66
- Chandimal b Chahal 14
- Tharanga b Chahal…………….. 17
- Shanaka not out……………….. 15
- Perera not out…………………… 22
Extras (lb4, nb1, w6)……………… 11
Total (5 wickets, 18.3 overs)…… 175
Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Mendis), 2-70 (Gunathilaka), 3-98 (Chandimal), 4-127 (Perera), 5-136 (Tharanga)
Did not bat: J. Mendis, A. Dananjaya, D. Chameera, N. Pradeep
Bowling: Unadkat 3-0-35-1 (w2), Sundar 4-0-28-2 (w1), Thakur 3.3-0-42-0 (nb1, w1), Chahal 4-0-37-2 (w1), Shankar 2-0-15-0 (w1), Raina 2-0-14-0
Toss: Sri Lanka
Result: Sri Lanka won by five wickets
Umpires: Ranmore Martinesz (SRI), Raveendra Wimalasiri (SRI)
TV umpire: Lyndon Hannibal
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)