Kolkata: An unbeaten knock of 64 (103 balls) from KL Rahul and his 5th wicket partnership of 75 runs with Hardik Pandya steered India to a 4 wickets victory against Sri Lanka
in the second day-night ODI at Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
India, chasing 215 targets, made 219 runs for the loss of six wickets in 43.2 overs, thanks to Indian bowlers who restricted the tourists to a low score in the 50-over game.
Wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul and all rounder Hardik Pandya ( 36 from 53-ball) held the slide for the host when four combined wickets of Rohit Sharma ( 17), Subman Gill ( 21), Virat Kohli (4) and Shreyas Iyer (28) were out in 86 runs.
Rahul and Hardik together stitched a 75 runs partnership before Pandya was held by wicketkeeper
Kusal Mendis off C Karunaratne, who finished 2/51.
Coming of Shreyas Iyer (31) also made the Indian fans to cheer but his shot at the extra cover was
held brilliantly by C Karunaratne off Dhananjaya de Silva.
On the other side of the wicket KL Rahul stood like the vanguard of Indian batting and began to pick up runs with Kuldeep Yadav ( not out 10) and steered India to win with three boundaries in the 43rd over.
Earlier India restricted Sri Lanka at 215 all out in 39.4 overs with brilliant bowling from nippy spinner Kuldeep Yadav and young pacer Mohhmmad Siraj, who shared six wickets between them.
While 28-year-old medium pacer Siraj finished 3/30 ( 5.4 overs), left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav also took three wickets conceding 51 runs in ten overs.
Twenty-eight year-old left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who came in place of injured Yazuvendra Chahal, infact spun the batting of Sri Lanka batting from his first over of the day. And then Siraj did
his best taking the first and last wicket of Sri Lanka among three three scalps.
On the other hand Yadav’s victims were wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Mendis (LWB-34), Chatish Asalanka -caught and bolwed at 15 and disrupted stumps of Lanka skipeer Dasun Shanaka (2),
who made an unbeaten century in the first ODI in Guwahati.
India took 15 overs to introduce spinning duo Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel, the latter also disrupted stumps of Dhananjaya D Silva on his first delivery of the day. Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya were out in a space of one run at 102 and 103 that shook the batting foundation of the visiting side.
Player of the Match Kuldeep Yadav after the match said, “I am happy with my performance. Since the last one year, I have been trying to back my strength and not think much. Whenever I get my chance, I just think about performing well. I am enjoying my bowling a lot. The team combination matters, so I just try to give my best whenever I get my chance. I bowl the faster in the IPL and T20Is also to give the batter one run. So I just did that here also. I have worked on my batting a lot of late. Same with the fitness. Whenever I get time, I go to the NCA. So thanks to the trainers there. That’s one thing I have tried to do in the last one year. Earlier, I wasn’t much into it. Chahal too gave me inputs about their batters.”
Team India Captain Rohit Sharma said, ” It was a close game but games like these teach you a lot. KL has been batting at 5 for a long time now, it gives you that confidence when an experienced batter is batting at 5. It was a good display of batsmanship. In the hindsight, it will be nice to have a left-hander in the top order but guys who are being given the chance have got a lot of runs in the last one year.”
“Ideally, we would like to have a left-hander but we know the quality of our right-handers and are quite comfortable with that at the moment. We will have a look at the pitch for the third ODI, and another ODI series is coming up as well. So we will see if we need to make any changes. Kuldeep just comes and gets the breakthrough, he is quite confident as a bowler at the moment, which augurs well for the team,” he added.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka said, ” We were in the game but didn’t have not runs in the game.
I think at the start we discussed about 280 but Kuldeep bowled well. We had a chance as the ball was moving. So I told my bowlers to stick to the basics.”
KL Rahul said, ” I won’t say it was a flat wicket, or it was doing a lot that it was impossible to bat. When Sri Lanka started, I thought it was a 280-300 wicket. But our bowlers bowled really well to keep them to 220-odd. But they put up a good fight, got early breakthroughs to put us under pressure. But
I had a good partnership with Shreyas and Hardik. We always try to find a way to win, and it was nice to cross the line in the end. [On different approach against Hasaranga today] In Guwahati, the openers put the pressure on the opposition. Then your mindset is to attack, doesn’t matter who is bowling.”
“Today we lost early wickets, so it was important to soak the pressure. If we are chasing 280-300, then we would attack him. But today there was no need. The good thing about batting at No. 5 is you don’t have to rush. You can take a shower, put your feet up and watch the game. But I always think what team needs of me. If you can read the situation when you go in, it helps you and team. Batting at No. 5 has helped me understand my game better. At No. 5 you have to face spin straightaway; I like ball coming onto the bat but Rohit has been pretty clear that he wants me to bat at No. 5, so that’s what I am trying to do,” Rahul said.
India and Sri Lanka would now travel to Thiruvananthapuram for the last and 3rd ODI on January 15.