If one had to give a conclusion to this tour, it is that India and Sri Lanka are on opposite sides of the cricketing spectrum. Where India have proven themselves to be virtually unbeatable in subcontinental conditions, Sri Lanka are looking like sitting ducks. India have got a core they can rely on in all three formats of the game while Sri Lanka lack any. India have leaders in the squad that help them find a way out of the prickliest of situations as was seen in the second ODI. Sri Lanka’s seniors themselves seem to be lacking in confidence.
Both teams have seen greats retire in the past decade. While India have managed to replace the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid, Sri Lanka have limped on ever since Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara hung up their boots. Lasith Malinga, who was part of the squad that reached consecutive World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011, has been out of form for over a year now while the likes of Angelo Mathews and Upul Tharanga are a far cry from their predecessors. These factors could be seen clearly in this tour that ended for Sri Lanka with a seven wicket loss to India in the standalone T20I. It was preceded by a 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series, the first of its kind, and a 3-0 whitewash in the Test rubber.
India won the toss that was delayed by the wet outfield and elected to bat first in Colombo. They got their first wicket when Bhuvneshwar Kumar knocked off Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga’s wickets in the third over of the match. Tharanga’s opening partner Niroshan Dickwella followed soon, falling to Jasprit Bumrah. Angelo Mathews and Dilshan Munaweera then seemed to have set a rythm for the Sri Lankan innings but that was before the former was masterfully stumped by MS Dhoni off Yuzvendra Chahal. Dhoni seemed to have done the same to Ashan Priyanjan but the latter was saved by a millimetre of his toe. Priyanjan was the man who remained unbeaten as Sri Lanka managed to get to 170/7 in 20 overs.
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul opened the innings for India. Rohit was soon sent back to the pavilion by his Mumbai Indians team mate Lasith Malinga and Virat Kohli replaced him in the middle. Kohli and Rahul soon got into the groove before it was brought into an abrupt halt by an absolute stunner from Dasun Shanaka. Standing at short cover, Shanaka dived to his left and plucked the ball out of thin air to dismiss Rahul. But that would turn out to be the last moment of jubilation for the Sri Lankans as Manish Pandey stuck on with his captain and the two put up a partnership of 119. By the time Kohli was out India’s win was all but confirmed. Dhoni helped Pandey put the finishing touches and saw it off for the visitors.