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3rd T20I: Shanaka's fighting fifty takes Sri Lanka to 146/5 against India

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Dharamsala, Feb 27 (IANS) A fighting fifty from skipper Dasun Shanaka (74 not out off 38) helped Sri Lanka post 146/5 against India in the third and final T20I of the series at the picturesque HPCA Stadium, here on Sunday.

The likes of Avesh Khan (2/23), Mohammed Siraj (1/22), Harshal Patel (1/29), Ravi Bishnoi (1/32) picked wickets at regular intervals to keep Sri Lanka on the backfoot before Shanaka played a solid knock to help his post a fighting total.

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After winning the toss and opting to bat first, Sri Lanka were off to a terrible start, losing the wickets of Danushka Gunathilaka (0), Pathum Nissanka (1) and Charith Asalanka (4) inside the powerplay and scoring just 18 runs.

Mohammed Siraj gave India first breakthrough in the very first over of the match, removing Gunathilaka, who dragged on a ball to his stumps. Avesh Khan got rid of Pathum Nissanka in the next over, to get his first international wicket and then he dismissed Asalanka to leave Sri Lanka in deep trouble.

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Janith Liyanage and Dinesh Chandimal then looked to rebuild Sri Lanka’s innings and had a brief stand of 18 runs for the 4th wicket between them. However, Rohit introduced Bishnoi into the attack and he delivered straightaway by removing Liyanage, who couldn’t read the googly and was bowled, leaving visitors at 29/4 after 8.3 overs.

By taking wickets at regular intervals, Indian bowlers kept Sri Lankan batters under constant pressure and the responsibility was on experienced Dinesh Chandimal and skipper Dasun Shanaka, who played an attacking knock in the second T20I, to bail out their team from a struggling situation.

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The duo gave some impetus to Sri Lankan innings during their 31 runs partnership by hitting some occasional boundaries and rotating strikes well. Chandimal especially looked a bit more comfortable against Indians spinners and played some beautiful shots. However, Harshal Patel removed Chandimal to inflict further damage on Sri Lanka.

At 60-5 after 12.1 overs, it seemed like Sri Lanka won’t be able to bat for a full 20 overs but Dasun Shanaka had other plans.

Continuing his superb batting form, Shanaka took matters on his own and played an counter-attacking knock, stitching an unbeaten 86-run stand with Karunaratne. And even in that stand, Shanaka was the aggressor because Karunaratne (12 off 19) hardly timed a ball. Overall, Sri Lanka made a remarkable recovery and posted a challenging total of 146/5 in 20 overs.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 146/5 in 20 overs (Dasun Shanaka 74 not out, Dinesh Chandimal 25; Avesh Khan 2/23) vs India

–IANS

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