A rejigged Indian team promised a lot but delivered little as Sri Lanka finally managed to win a ODI on home soil after nine long years, beating the visitors by three wickets in the third and final match of the series on Friday.
While India won the three-match ODI series 2-1, the exciting rookies who were blooded on the day still have a long way to go before they can come close to challenging the big boys after the Sri Lankan spinners made full use of a rain break to bowl out Shikhar Dhawan’s men for 225 in 43.1 overs out of a possible 47.
It wasn’t defendable, especially for an attack that had four debutant bowlers as Avishka Fernando (76 off 98 balls) anchored the chase, laying the foundation with a 109-run stand with Bhanuka Rajapaksa (65, 56 balls).
The only silver lining would be a big-hearted effort from left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya (2/34 in 8 overs), including a back of the hand delivery that reared up awkwardly and lobbed off Dhananjaya de Silva’s gloves. Rahul Chahar (3/54 in 10 overs) was also impressive as he delayed the inevitable with some impressive stuff towards the end.
The 227-run chase as per DLS method was finally completed in 39 overs as it was Sri Lanka’s first ODI win at home against India since July 24, 2012 and first victory against them since 2017 ODI in Dharamsala.
Rahul Dravid and skipper Dhawan would be unhappy with a low-intensity performance on the day, especially the fielding effort which was poor to say the least as three catches were dropped.
India’s young batsmen paid for their profligacy and inexperience as Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama and mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya forced them to make a mess while playing for exaggerated turn which wasn’t there in the first place.