By Kushan Sarkar
Mirpur, Mar 17: Indian team’s batting woes continued in the familiar sub-continental conditions as they lost their opening warm-up tie of the ICC World T20 against Sri Lanka by five runs, here today.
Batting first, Sri Lanka scored 153 for six and then bowled out India for 148 in exactly 20 overs.
Needing 12 off the last over bowled by Lasith Malinga, Indians could get only six as the Lankan slinger finished with figures of 4/30 from four overs. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not bat in this unofficial match.
India’s inability to finish a close match again came to the fore as the likes of Suresh Raina (41), Yuvraj Singh (33) and Virat Kohli (17) all failed to convert their starts.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s all-round show (3/22 and 19 runs) was the lone bright spot in the opening encounter.
India were off to a disastrous start as Shikhar Dhawan (2) played a lazy shot off Kulasekara to be holed out at mid-off while Rohit Sharma (4) was caught at the deep mid-wicket boundary off a Malinga delivery.
Raina looked more comfortable on a low-bounce track as he played those customary lofted shots in the region between extra cover and mid-off. He also lofted Kulasekara for a six over mid-wicket.
He was looking good for a big knock as he reached 41 with the help of five fours and a six. But the 31st ball he faced saw him fail to reach to the pitch of the delivery. Ajantha Mendis was the bowler and Raina couldn’t clear Rangana Herath at long off boundary.
Ajinkya Rahane offered a simple return catch to Sachitra Senanayeke as India were in deep trouble at 56 for four.
Yuvraj was having a bit of trouble initially reading Senanayeke’s deliveries but he broke the shackles by coming down the track to hit left-arm spinner Rangana Herath over long-on for a six. He also picked up Mendis’ carom ball early to hit another six over long on.
Kohli started off on a promising note smacking 17 off only eight balls as the duo added 32 runs in quick time before Malinga struck.
Coming back for his second spell, Malinga got Kohli to play away from his body and he dragged it back onto the stumps. Yuvraj was gone trying to steer Kulasekara and Sangakkara took a fine diving catch behind the stumps.
The left-hander hit two sixes and two fours in his 28-ball stay at the crease. Once Yuvraj was gone, it was difficult for the others to finish the game.
Earlier, Ashwin gave a good account of himself as two-time finalists Sri Lanka upped the ante in the end to put on a competitive total after being sent into bat.
Ashwin ended with impressive figures of three for 22 in his four-over spell as the batsmen had lot of trouble playing their strokes on a slowish track at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Amit Mishra (1/38 from four overs) got some stick but also bowled a few good balls while Raina (1/12) was lucky to get a wicket.
Nuwan Kulasekara with 21 off 14 balls and Thisara Perera with 18 from 11 deliveries added 30 runs in the last three overs to take the score past 150.
Among the pacers, Varun Aaron worked up good pace in his three overs to end with one for 18 as Mahela Jayawardene (30) and skipper Dinesh Chandimal (29) were the only ones in the top-order, who looked like scoring a few runs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was taken for 17 runs in his final over as he finished with figures of none for 33 from three overs.
Mohammed Shami’s inspiring effort in the field definitely helped in lifting the spirit of the team. Having bowled an over at full tilt, the speedster stationed at mid-off dived full stretched to take a brilliant one-handed catch that dismissed Kusal Janith Perera (21) off Aaron’s bowling.
Dilshan, on the otherhand, looked ill at ease both against pacers as well as spinners as he simply could not get off the blocks.
Jayawardene, however, looked attacking from the start as his mistimed pull shot off Shami went over Dhoni’s head for a boundary. But the very next shot was a beauty as he bisected the point and gully fielder to find another boundary.
When Ravindra Jadeja was introduced into the attack, Jayawardene muscled him behind square leg boundary for a six.
The veteran right-hander slog swept leggie Amit Mishra over square leg for another maximum.
But Mishra had his revenge off the very next ball when he varied the length. He altered it by a feet and Jayawardene was induced into playing early offering an easy return catch which Mishra had no problems in pouching.
Finally, Dilshan’s misery ended when he was adjudged leg before after being struck on the frontfoot trying to flick an Ashwin delivery. Sangakkara played the worst shot among the top order batsmen as he literally gifted Raina a wicket.