Pandey, Karthick take India home

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Mar 2018 11:02:15



MIDDLE-ORDER batsman Manish Pandey (42*) and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthick (39*) anchored the innings with a fine 68 runs partnership to help India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in their T20 encounter of the tri-series at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Monday.Chasing a target of 159 from 19 overs, India strolled home in 17.3 overs after an early hiccup.Pandey and Karthick joined hands in the middle when India were 85 for four but the duo made it sure the dent doesn’t increase further.

They batted sensibly scoring runs in ones and twos and hit boundaries whenever there was a loose ball.Karthick slammed two boundaries and picked a single in the 18th over to take India home.India had a poor start as they lost both the openers — Rohit Sharma (11) and ShikharDhawan (8) — by the fourth over.KL Rahul (18) and Suresh Raina (27) then added 40 runs for the third wicket with some big hits over the fence.However, their fruitful partnership was broken in the seventh over when Raina holed up an easy catch at mid-off to Thisara Perera. The left-handed batsman stepped out to clear Perera off Nuwan Pradeep but mistimed his shot to give a regulation catch.

Rahul was the next man to go after he crashed his foot into the stumps while attempting to push the ball towards leg. A ball earlier, he was given benefit of doubt by the umpire for a run out appeal.India were in trouble with their top four batsmen back in pavilion with only 85 runs on the board.But Manish Pandey was unfazed by the little debacle. He started aggressively and hit a couple of boundaries apart from running hard to collect quick runs with Karthick. He pulled one Perera delivery over the mid-on for a huge six to keep the chase in control.

Pandey and Karthick kept the rotating the strike as India needed 30 runs from last four overs.The two remained undefeated as India crossed the mark in 18th over.
Earlier, young Shardul Thakur registered his best T20 bowling figures as Sri Lanka lost their way in the middle overs after Kusal Mendis’ fifty to be restricted to 152 for nine.Sent into bat, Mendis once again shone bright for Sri Lanka scoring 55 off 38 balls with the help of three fours and as many sixes before Indian bowlers led by Thakur brought their side back into the game with wickets at regular intervals.

Thakur returned with impressive figures of 4/27, while young off-spinner Washinton Sundar (2/21) scalped two wickets as India made a strong fightback after leaking runs in the first 10 overs.Vijay Shankar (1/30), Yuzvendra Chahal (1/34) and Jaydev Unadkat (1/33) also accounted for a wicket each. But initially it looked Rohit Sharma’s decision to bowl first backfired as Sri Lanka got off to a flier scoring 24 runs off the first two overs. Left-arm pacer Unadkat was taken to the cleaners as he gave away 15 runs in the first over.But India pulled things back bit with two wickets in back-to-back overs.Thakur gave India the breakthrough when he dismissed Danushka Gunathilaka (17) in the third over with Suresh Raina taking a stunning catch at midwicket.

Sundar then cleaned up in-form Kushal Perera (3) in the next over as the batsman went for an expansive reverse sweep.But thereafter Kusal Mendis took the Indian bowlers to task in Upul Tharanga’s (22) company as the duo added 62 runs for the third wicket to help Sri Lanka reach 94 for two after 10 overs.