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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Covid-hit India field five batsmen in playing XI, lose

The final match of the series will be played on Thursday.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty |
Updated: July 29, 2021 12:11:52 pm
Sri Lanka India CricketSri Lanka's Dhananjaya de Silva, center, celebrates. (AP Photo)

Eleven Indian players were available for the second T20I against Sri Lanka and only five of them were specialist batsmen. Bhuvneshwar Kumar came at No. 6 followed by Navdeep Saini at No. 7. “We have got eleven to choose from, and all eleven are playing,” coach Rahul Dravid told the host broadcaster ahead of the game. India still stretched

Sri Lanka to the limit, losing in the final over defending 132. Given the lead-up, the result, though, was a tad inconsequential.

Krunal Pandya tested Covid positive on Tuesday which not only pushed back the second T20I by a day, but it also sent eight other players, his close contacts, into isolation. Subsequent tests returned negative for all the players and support staff, but as a safety measure, they were ruled out of the remaining two T20Is of the three-match series.

Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Deepak Chahar, K Gowtham and Yuzvendra Chahal, along with Krunal, were rendered unavailable. The BCCI incorporated five net bowlers into the main squad but they weren’t solving the batting problem. India’s batting line-up had three debutants – Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Nitish Rana. On the bowling front, Chetan Sakariya got his T20I cap.

Krunal’s positive test just hours before the second T20I, originally scheduled on Tuesday, also started a chain of events – isolation, a series of tests and discussions between the BCCI and Sri Lanka Cricket about the fate of the series the outcome of which was positive.

A used Premadasa pitch that played slow and low, enhanced India’s batting degree of difficulty. Gaikwad started off brightly, hitting a lovely inside-out four against Akila Dananjaya. But the ball wasn’t coming on to the bat and the Sri Lankan bowlers were applying the choke. Shikhar Dhawan, Gaikwad and Padikkal got the starts but perished, trying to force the pace. India’s innings had only seven fours and a six. Sri Lanka had to score 20 runs off the final two overs and a light drizzle made the ball greasy. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s attempted yorker slipped out of his hand and Chamika Karunaratne hit it for a six. That was that.

Brief scores: India 132/5 in 20 overs (S Dhawan 40; A Dananjaya 2/29) lost to Sri Lanka 133/6 in 19.4 overs (D de Silva 40 not out; K Yadav 2/30) by 4 wicket

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