COLOMBO, March 12, (AFP): Paceman Shardul Thakur picked four key wickets to set up a comfortable six-wicket win for India in a tri-series Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka on Monday.
The 26-year-old Thakur, playing his fifth T20 international, impressed with his pace and guile to help India dismiss the hosts for 152-9.
In reply, India coasted to the target with nine balls to spare, thanks to a fine 42 off 31 balls by Manish Pandey and a 39-run knock by Dinesh Karthik.
India appeared in trouble at 85-4 but Pandey and Karthik batted sensibly, adding 68 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket.
The match was reduced to 19-overs a side after the start was delayed by about an hour due to rains and a wet outfield.
Earlier Kusal Mendis hit a quickfire half-century to ensure Sri Lanka a competitive total on the board.
The opener hit three fours and as many sixes in his 38-ball knock at the R. Premadasa stadium.
Mendis though got little support from the other batsmen as the hosts kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Thakur, who was named man of the match, bagged four wickets for 27 runs off his four overs.
Upcoming off-spinner Washington Sundar took two wickets as the India bowlers fought back after a sloppy first 10 overs.
India made one change to the side that won against Bangladesh on Thursday, bringing in batsman K.L. Rahul in place of Rishabh Pant.
Sri Lanka picked Suranga Lakmal in place of captain Dinesh Chandimal who has been suspended for two games due to an over-rate offence.
The win propelled India into contention for a place in the final of the tournament that has Bangladesh as the third team.
The next match will be played between India and Bangladesh on Wednesday with the final slated for Sunday.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is adopting an advanced software used by football club Barcelona to manage its injury-prone cricketers as the national team trains for the World Cup next year, officials said Monday.
The island’s cricket board hopes the state-of-the-art player management system will restore Sri Lanka’s prestige on the world stage after their worst year in international cricket.
The board spent $75,000 on the software, adapting it to suit its cricketers.
Officials said coupled with a match analysis system designed in-house, Sri Lanka could boast the most advanced player management technology of any cricketing nation.
“We are investing a lot of resources and technology to develop the game with an eye on the World Cup,” Sri Lanka Cricket chief Ashley de Silva told AFP.
Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 but have not repeated the feat since, despite twice making the finals.
They were World T20 champions in 2014 but have tumbled down the rankings, hit by injuries and scandal.
Under new coach Chandika Hathurusingha, the side has been rebuilding after a year of humiliating defeats and few wins.
Sri Lanka bounced backed in a tour of Bangladesh in January, thrashing the hosts in all three formats of the game.
The team’s high-performance manager Simon Willis said the new technology would help selectors and managers monitor their squad’s performance with real-time data.
“This system will benefit the national team and allow evidence-based decisions to be made,” the former Kent coach told AFP.
“It’s not cheap, but it is a good investment because it gives us instant information.”
Sri Lanka’s cricketers will wear GPS devices during training and tournaments to monitor fitness and performance, he added.
The technology has been rolled out during the ongoing home tri-nation series against India and Bangladesh, with players wearing the GPS devices during matches.
Willis said instead of subjective decisions about players and their fitness, the new system allowed for better-informed choices.
Sri Lanka vs India Scoreboard
COLOMBO, March 12, (AFP): Scoreboard of the Tri-nation Twenty20 international between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo on Monday.
- Gunathilaka c Raina b Thakur…. 17
- Mendis c Sharma b Chahal……. 55
- Perera b Sundar…………………… 3
- Tharanga b Shankar…………….. 22
- Perera c Chahal b Thakur………. 15
- Mendis b Sundar…………………… 1
- Shanaka c Karthik b Thakur…… 19
- Dhananjaya c Rahul b Unadkat… 5
- Lakmal not out…………………….. 5
- Chameera c Unadkat b Thakur…. 0
- Pradeep not out…………………… 0
Extras (lb1, nb1, w8)……………….. 10
Total (for 9 wkts; 19 overs)………. 152
Fall of wickets: 1-25 (Gunathilaka), 2-34 (K. Perera), 3-96 (Tharanga), 4-113 (T. Perera), 5-118 (J. Mendis), 6-120 (K. Mendis), 7-146 (Dananjaya), 8-151 (Shanaka), 9-151 (Chameera)
Bowling: Unadkat 3-0-33-1, Sundar 4-0-21-2, Thakur 4-0-27-4, Chahal 4-0-34-1, Shankar 3-0-30-1, Raina 1-0-6-0
- Sharma c K. Mendis b Dananjaya …11
- Dhawan c T. Perera b Dananjaya. 8
- K.L. Rahul hit wicket b J. Mendis… 18
- Raina c T. Perera b Pradeep…… 27
- Pandey not out………………….. 42
- Karthik not out…………………… 39
Extras (lb1, w7)……………………….. 8
Total (for 4 wkts; 17.3 overs)……. 153
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Sharma), 2-22 (Dhawan), 3-62 (Raina), 4-85 (Rahul)
Did not bat: V. Shankar, W. Sundar, S. Thakur, J. Unadkat, Y. Chahal
Bowling: Lakmal 2-0-19-0, Dananjaya 4-0-19-2, Chameera 3-0-33-0, Pradeep 2.3-0-30-1, J. Mendis 4-0-34-1, T. Perera 2-0-17-0
Result: India won by six wickets
Umpires: Ranmore Martinesz (SRI), Lyndon Hannibal (SRI)
TV Umpire: Raveendra Wimalasiri (SRI)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)