Fast bowler Navdeep Saini led a disciplined Indian bowling performance to set up a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second Twenty20 international in Indore on Tuesday.
Saini returned impressive figures of 2-18 while fellow paceman Shardul Thakur claimed three wickets to help restrict Sri Lanka to 142 for nine, a total the hosts surpassed in 17.3 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The opening match was rained off.
KL Rahul, who top-scored with 45, and Shikhar Dhawan, who made 32, on his return from injury, put on 71 runs for the opening wicket to lay the platform for India’s comfortable chase on a good batting pitch.
Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga sent back the two openers as he bowled Rahul with a googly and then dismissed Dhawan lbw after a successful Sri Lanka review.
Shreyas Iyer, who scored 34 before falling to paceman Lahiru Kumara, and skipper Virat Kohli, who made an unbeaten 30 and hit the winning six, put on a key 51-run stand for the third wicket.
But it was the Indian bowlers who set the platform for victory after Kohli won the toss and elected to field first.
Sri Lanka kept losing wickets at regular intervals despite a brisk start but it was wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s two key strikes including Kusal Perera, for 28, that further put a lid on the islanders’ scoring.
Saini, who bowled opener Danushka Gunathilaka for 20, claimed Bhanuka Rajapaksa caught behind for nine as Sri Lanka slipped to 104 for five.
Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah also took a wicket on his return from a four-month injury lay-off by bowling Dasun Shanaka with a slower ball.
Thakur returned in his final over and the team’s 19th to rattle the lower-order with three strikes including two in successive deliveries.
Hasaranga signed off the innings with three successive fours off Bumrah but his effort was not enough.
The third and final match is on Friday in Pune.