Sri Lanka win second T20I to level series against depleted India

By Sports Desk July 28, 2021

India went down by four wickets to Sri Lanka in Colombo on Wednesday, levelling their Twenty20 International series after losing a number of big names to a coronavirus outbreak.

The tourists will have to bounce back quickly ahead of Thursday's decider having come up just short of a victory that would have secured a fourth successive bilateral series success against Sri Lanka in this format.

Krunal Pandya's positive COVID-19 test prompted the postponement of this match on Tuesday and ruled out eight players as close contacts.

That meant there were four debutants in the India XI, with Ruturaj Gaikwad opening in a depleted batting line-up and Devdutt Padikkal coming in at number three, and Sri Lanka capitalised.

India made a promising start, but were restricted to 132-5 after being asked to bat first, captain Shikhar Dhawan top scoring with 40.

Although Minod Bhanuka (36) departed quickly after he was dropped by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sri Lanka remained within reach heading into the closing stages of their chase.

A brief late rain delay dragged out the drama and Sri Lanka – led by Dhananjaya de Silva (40 not out) – then immediately profited from a 12-run 19th over that brought them within eight, a target achieved with two balls to spare.

HERO TO ZERO

This should have been a night to remember for Bhuvneshwar, whose unbeaten career-high 13 in India's innings – batting up the order at six – was followed by his 50th wicket in the format. He is the fourth Indian bowler to this mark.

But, as well as that awful drop, he was the man running in for the 19th over, with Sri Lanka in complete control after Chamika Karunaratne hit a full toss for six.

TOUGH GROUNDING

For a time, it had appeared as though Bhuvneshwar was setting an example for Chetan Sakariya, the debutant seamer who struggled from the outset. Ultimately, they both contributed to India's defeat.

Starting alongside Bhuvneshwar in the attack, there were nine runs off Sakariya's first over and 10 off the second. A first wicket came in the third as Ramesh Mendis paid for his aggressive approach, but that over still brought eight and the miserable fourth saw Sri Lanka seal victory. Sakariya went for 34 off 3.4 overs.

Related items

  • Barcelona without injured forward Ansu Fati for Rayo Vallecano clash Barcelona without injured forward Ansu Fati for Rayo Vallecano clash

    Barcelona forward Ansu Fati has been ruled out of Wednesday's LaLiga clash against Rayo Vallecano with a knee injury.

    The Spain international, who signed a new long-term deal at Camp Nou last week, was substituted 16 minutes from time in Barca's Clasico defeat to Real Madrid on Sunday after sustaining a knock.

    Ronald Koeman revealed at his pre-match news conference ahead of the meeting with Vallecano that Fati was considered a doubt.

    He was not pictured travelling to Madrid with the Barca squad on Wednesday and the LaLiga heavyweights have confirmed the youngster will play no part at Estadio de Vallecas.

    A statement on Barcelona's official website read: "Ansu Fati has pain in his right knee. He is unavailable for selection and his recovery will dictate his return".

     

    Fati only returned from a 10-month knee injury lay-off, which saw him suffer a number of setbacks along the way, in Barca's 3-0 win over Levante on September 26.

    The teenage forward scored in that match and has featured a further five times in all competitions this term, with his only other goal coming against Valencia 10 days ago.

    He has scored 15 goals in 49 appearances for the Catalan giants in all competitions, a tally that is bettered only by Luis Suarez (21), Antoine Griezmann (35) and Messi (69) – none of whom are still at the club – since his debut 26 months ago.

    Koeman is also without fellow forwards Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite for the match with Vallecano, while Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo are also nursing injuries.

    Barca enter the match ninth in LaLiga, with their return of 15 goals after their first nine games their lowest tally at this stage of the campaign since 2003-04 when scoring 11 times.

  • Man Utd star Pogba refutes claim he snubbed Solskjaer and shelved contract talks Man Utd star Pogba refutes claim he snubbed Solskjaer and shelved contract talks

    Manchester United star Paul Pogba has denied claims that he snubbed his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following Sunday’s 5-0 hammering at the hands of Liverpool at Old Trafford.

    It was a day that went from bad to worse for the Frenchman after being left out of the starting line-up for a second game running, only to see his team-mates fall four goals behind by the break, which led to his introduction in the second half.

    Pogba lasted only 15 minutes as he was sent off by referee Anthony Taylor following a VAR review following a heavy challenge on Naby Keita.

    The former Juventus man has experienced highs and lows since coming back to United from Italy in 2016, and rumours about his future persist as he gets closer to the end of his deal in Manchester, which expires at the end of this season.

    There have also been questions raised about the relationship between Solskjaer and his players, especially following recent games in which the Red Devils have lost four and drawn one of their last five domestic fixtures.

    However, Pogba took to Twitter on Wednesday to address a story published by The Sun which claimed that he had snubbed his manager in the dressing room following Sunday's defeat, and had also "shelved" contract talks.

    The 28-year-old simply stated "Big lies to make headlines", and posted a screenshot of the story with a banner over the top saying "Fake news".

    Big lies to make headlines pic.twitter.com/VBQiBxSuNO

    — Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) October 27, 2021

     

    Pogba's agent Mino Raiola recently told The Times in an interview that there was "no update" on his client's future.

    Before falling out of favour in recent games, the World Cup winner made a promising start to the season, and still sits at the top of the Premier League assist chart with seven, two ahead of Gabriel Jesus, Mateo Kovacic and Mohamed Salah.

    He will be unable to add to those numbers for a while as he now misses games against Tottenham, Manchester City and Watford through suspension, with the trip to Chelsea on 28 November set to be the next match he will be available for.

     

  • World Series 2021: Soler's mixed emotions as victorious Braves lose Morton to leg break World Series 2021: Soler's mixed emotions as victorious Braves lose Morton to leg break

    Atlanta Braves star Jorge Soler conceded Charlie Morton's injury had taken the shine off his team's 6-2 triumph over the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series.

    Morton took a hard grounder off the leg in the second inning but remained in the game to finish out the frame, then struck out the first batter of the third before leaving when the pain became too intense.

    X-rays revealed the 37-year-old had suffered a broken right fibula, ruling him out of the remainder of the series.

    Soler, who hit the third pitch of the game for a home run, said of Morton's setback: "It was extremely challenging for us.

    "We saw him getting treatment and getting worked on. He went back out there to pitch on that broken leg.

    "It was really challenging and emotional for us to have to see him in the game being hurt, our World Series opener, starter."

    In the 117th edition of the World Series, Soler became the first player to lead off the top of the first inning of Game 1 with a homer – a welcome development for Atlanta as teams that score first in the 2021 postseason are now 25-7. 

    "The energy was amazing and electric, especially after we took a 1-0 lead after that home run," said Soler.

    "I feel extremely grateful to be here and be a member of this organisation. I feel like Atlanta opened its arms for me. They traded for me, and they gave me opportunity to play every day.

    "So as far as I'm concerned, I'm extremely grateful to the organisation, to the fans who have definitely supported us, and like I said, I'm very happy to be here."

    Astros starter Framber Valdez had been dominant early in games, allowing only one run in the first two innings over his previous six games combined, but he would retire only six of the 15 men he faced Tuesday before departing down 5-0 with no outs in the third inning. 

    Beyond Soler's leadoff blast, the other big offensive blow for the Braves was a two-run laser over the left-field fence by Adam Duvall in the third that drove Valdez from the game.  

    Game 2 is on Wednesday in Houston with Max Fried taking the mound for the Braves against the Astros' Jose Urquidy. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.