Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal picked up two wickets each for India
Sri Lanka 262 for 9 (Karunaratne 43*, Shanaka 39, Kuldeep 2-48, Chahal 2-52) vs India
Sri Lanka made a half-decent start moving to 49 for no loss after nine overs, then had their momentum sapped by India’s spinners, before recovering late through Chamika Karunaratne‘s 43 not out off 35 balls.
However, the manner in which Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, and Krunal Pandya constricted Sri Lanka through the middle overs prevented partnerships from prospering for long. The hosts moved in fits and starts to 262 for 9 – a total that may just be defendable, but was far from daunting on a Khettarama deck that seemed good for batting, even if it was taking significant turn.
Chahal and Kuldeep took two wickets apiece – their early strikes instrumental in reducing Sri Lanka to 89 for 3, before Krunal’s miserly left-arm spin kept the run rate in check. Sri Lanka’s batters occasionally found the boundary through this period, but were largely unable to keep the runs flowing in between the big shots – a reflection of their own limitations, as well as the quality of the bowling. Six batters got themselves past 20, but only Karunaratne breached 40.
Chahal, perhaps the most attacking of India’s spinners in this innings, claimed a wicket first ball, when Avishka Fernando came down the track to him only to spoon a catch to cover. This was in the final over of the first powerplay. Kuldeep claimed the next two wickets – debutant Bhanuka Rajapaksa edging him high into the infield as he attempted to slog against the turn, before Minod Bhanuka, who had compiled a patient 27, edged to slip.
They continued to strike through the middle, never allowing Sri Lanka to post so much as a half-century partnership. Dasun Shanaka and Charith Asalanka got closest, putting on 49 together, off 76 balls, for the fifth wicket.
Having ambled through overs 11-39, Sri Lanka were poorly placed for the slog overs. They lost Asalanka and Wanindu Hasaranga in quick succession, and would soon lose Shanaka as well, after he made 39 off 50 balls in his first innings as captain. That wicket would leave them 205 for 7 in the 44th over.
No. 8 Karunaratne, though, worked himself gradually into the innings alongside Isuru Udana, with whom he shared a boundary-less 17-run stand, before exploding in the company of No. 10 Dushmantha Chameera, in the last two overs. Chameera struck a four and six off successive Hardik Pandya deliveries in the penultimate over, before Karunaratne hit two sixes – including a helicopter shot over deep midwicket – and a four off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 50th. Sri Lanka reaped 32 runs off the last 12 balls.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf