As it happened, 3rd T20I: India wins by 78 runs, claims series 2-0

Dhawan and Rahul's fifties helped India post a mammoth 201 before the bowlers killed the Sri Lankan challenge early on to earn a comprehensive win in Pune.

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The most significant aspect of the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka is the face-off between K. L. Rahul (in pic) and Shikhar Dhawan for sealing the second opener’s position.   -  Twitter (@BCCI)

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's LIVE coverage of the third T20I between India and Sri Lanka.

LIVE UPDATES:

SRI LANKA INNINGS

WICKET! And that's it. The Sri Lankan skipper Malinga skies a catch to his Indian counterpart Kohli at mid-on. Saini has three to follow up his two in Indore. India wins the match by 78 runs -- its fifth highest margin in terms of win by runs. India seals the series 2-0.

WICKET! Dhananjaya falls after the fight. For once, he swings wildy at a wide delivery from Saini and he ends up slicing it straight into the hands of Bumrah at wide third man. Malinga acknowledges Dhananjaya's effort with a pat on his back. India on the brink of another dominating series win over Sri Lanka.

SL 118/8 in 15 overs: WICKET! Second for Sundar as Sandakan dances down the ground for a big heave, misses and has his stumps uprooted by Samson.

Fifty for Dhananjaya, a pleasing knock from the lower order batsman amidst all the chaos. He brings up the fifty in 31 balls.

SL 111/7 in 14 overs: Shardul returns to the attack and Shanka miscues a short ball straight back to the bowler. Shardul gleefully accepts it and does a little juggle with the ball. WICKET! Hasaranga hit it wide of mid-off and goes for a single but Chahal retrieves it and releases the ball quickly to hit the stumps direct. Kohli liked that and so did Chahal, who lies on the ground and has a right chuckle over it.

100 up for Sri Lanka in the 13th over.

SL 96/5 in 12 overs: Mathews continues his assault on Sundar as he hits him over long-on for another six. Sundar drags it wide next ball and Mathews chases it and ends up skying it short of the boundary where Pandey comes running to take a tumbling catch.

SL 78/4 in 10 overs: A stunning inside out shot from Dhananjaya over the long-off fielder for a six! Fifty-run partnership between the pair in quick time.  11 from over of Chahal.

SL 67/4 in 9 overs: After two quiet overs, Mathews and Dhananjaya go after Sundar. Mathews slogs him for two sixes and fifty comes up for Sri Lanka.

India turn to spin as Sundar and Chahal come into the attack.

SL 35/4 in 6 overs: WICKET! Saini with another inch perfect yorker, much like Indore, to rattle the stumps of Perera! The left-hander made room to go big but Saini slips one in at 139 kmph and he had no chance to get bat on ball.  Dhananjaya in at No. 6 inside the powerplay. He gets away two boundaries; a punch of the back foot and follows it up with a leg glance.

SL 26/3 in 5 overs: Thakur allows Perera to free his arms and he gives it a good thump! Ball sails over the mid-on fielder for a four.  Mathews helps him to a boundary and its 11 off the over. Sri Lanka will need many more of that.

SL 15/3 in 4 overs: WICKET! Poor running between the pair. Bumrah strikes Perera flush on the pads but the umpire turns down the appeal. But Manish Pandey is alert to the ball, picks it up and runs over to whip off the bails to run out Oshada. Angelo Mathews is in at No. 5.

SL 11/1 in 2 overs: WICKET! Poor from Avishka; he smacks a length delivery over long-on for a six before he slashes another length ball outside off to the cover fielder. Thakur is ecstatic. Oshada Fernando in at No. 4. Swing on offer here as Thakur beats the outside edge of Oshada twice to end the over.

SL 5/1 in 1 over: WICKET! Gunathilaka miscues a rising delivery into the hands of the mid-on fielder Sundar, who completes an easy catch. Great start for India. Kusal Perera joins Avishka.

SL openers Avishka and Gunathilaka are out in the middle. Tough chase for the visitor as Jasprit Bumrah is revs up from his mark.

INDIA INNINGS

200 looked unlikely when Kohli ran himself out but Thakur's 8-ball 22 has powered India to 201.

IND 201/6 in 20 overs: Lahiuru Kumara with the final over and Thakur likes the pace. He deposits the ball straight down the ground for a six before creaming a short ball over the cover region for a four. Pandey playing second fiddle here but latches on to a short ball and pulls it to the leg side boundary to bring up 200! Costly 19 runs to end the innnings.

IND 182/6 in 19 overs: Shardul Thakur can bat alright. He smacks his second ball over midwicket for a six! And against Malinga! Pandey chips in with a boundary, too. 15 off the over as India inches towards the 200-run mark.

IND 167/6 in 18 overs: WICKET! Not often is Virat Kohli dismissed run-out but here he goes for a risky second and finds himself short of the crease. Excellent throw from the deep by Gunathilaka. Kohli departs for 26. Washington Sundar is in at No. 7. WICKET! And he is gone first ball. Kumara digs it in short and Sundar guides the ball into the hands of the third man fielder.

IND 158/4 in 17 overs: Not great return to T20 for Matthews as Kohli likes his medium pace. The Indian skipper straight drives the bowler over his head for a six before he whips him off his leg for a four. Expensive over.

IND 138/4 in 15 overs: Tidy from Sri Lankan spinners with just 12 runs coming off the overs of Sandakan Hasaranga. The pair finishes its quota with four wickets between them while conceding 62 runs. Still set up for India to get close to 200.

 

Kohli crosses 11,000 runs as skipper across formats.

IND 123/4 in 13 overs: Still no Kohli. It's Shreyas Iyer at No. 5. WICKET! He starts with a boundary before he loops the ball to Sandakan for a return catch. We finally have Kohli in the middle.

Rahul holds fort at the other end and he is beginning to cut loose. He brings up his fifty! Three fours from his last four balls. WICKET! Sri Lanka is fighting back with quick wickets here. Sandakan draws him out with a wide delivery and Rahul is caught short. He is stumped for 54.

IND 111/2 in 12 overs: WICKET! And he is out second ball. Sigh. Hasaranga bowls a googly and catches him plumb. He won't review it. Samson is upset with himself.

IND 103/1 in 11 overs: WICKET! Dhawan brings up a much-needed fifty... but he immediately perishes after going for high-risk strokes. He smokes the ball straight into the hands of the deep mid-wicket. It's not Kohli who walks in at No. 3, it's Sanju Samson. What are you doinnnn!? Samson smacks his first ball since return over the long-off for a six! Kohli loves it!

IND 92/0 in 10 overs: Dhawan seems to have had a good sighter of Hasaranga as he wallops him over the long-on fielder for his first six of the match. Dhawan and Rahul follows it up with four singles as 10 runs comes off it.

IND: 82/0 in 9 overs: Spinners bring some respite as Sandakan bowls another tight over. Just 6 runs off the over.

IND 76/0 in 8 overs: Just 4 runs off the over from leg-spinner Hasaranga. Only the second over with no boundary in the innings.

IND 72/0 in 7 overs: Sri Lankan fielders need to back the bowlers. Third man fielder puts in a valiant dive to stop the ball but he ends up parrying it on the ropes. Another over, another boundary.

IND 63/0 in 6 overs: Dhawan seems to be in the groove today. He just opens the face of the bat and uses Lahiru Kumara's pace to guide him behind the point region for successive boundaries.  A risky single from Rahul to end the powerpay. Both batsmen are on 30.

IND 52/0 in 5 overs: Delightful from Dhawan as he flicks Malinga between the mid-on and short square leg region. 13 off the over as India bring up fifty inside the powerplay.

Have your say on if Samson can do his thing on his return.

IND 39/0 in 4 overs: Dhanajaya allows Dhawan to free his arms and he whacks him over the mid-on fielder for his first boundary. The spinner bowls a full toss on leg stump and Rahul deposits the ball behind square leg for a massive six with a slog sweep.

Spin introduced in the form of Dhananjaya de Silva.

IND 26/9 in 3 overs: Malinga bowls his second and restores some control to the bowling side. He bowls from around the wicket to strangle Dhawan.

IND 22/0 in 2 overs: Life for Dhawan! The southpaw flicks it off his legs to the deep square leg fielder, where Shanaka could only manage to get his hands to it as the ball rolls away to the boundary. More punishment for Mathews as Rahul caresses him through the covers  for back-to-back boundaries.

Mathews is back and he will share the new ball duties.

IND 9/0 in 1 over: Clever from Malinga. Rahul nearly pulls a short ball to the hands of the short fine leg.  It was a tight over until Rahul plays a square cut past the point fielder for a boundary.

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan to face the new ball. SL skipper Lasith Malinga will be running in to deliver the first ball.

A first international game for Sanju Samson after his debut way back in 2015 in Zimbabwe. And he is trending in India on Twitter.

Playing XIs

India: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, SManish Pandey, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendr Chahal, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini

Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanka, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Lasith Malinga

TOSS: Malinga wins toss, Sri Lanka will bowl first.

Captains speak

Malinga: 'We will bowl first. There might be dew in the second innings. Our top-four batsmen need to get big runs. We have discussed that. We have two changes. Angelo comes in.'

Kohli: 'We wanted to bat first as we wanted to do something different today. Batting first is something we want to do more. Trend is going towards team wanting to chase, we want to be a side who want to embrace the other aspect also so that we are better placed, if things don't go your way at toss. You can't go into the match thinking you can only do well when you chase. We want to bat first and bat well. We want to embrace difficult things as well hence the combination of the side is accordingly.'

Pitch report: Sunil Gavaskar reckons it will be a batting pitch with a tinge of green which will help the ball come on to the bat. He also thinks advantage will be for the chasing team. Toss coming up in a few minutes.

MATCH PREVIEW:

Besides Jasprit Bumrah’s return to competitive cricket after four months, the most significant aspect of the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka is the face-off between K. L. Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan for sealing the second opener’s position.

With Rohit Sharma rested for the series, both Rahul and Dhawan have been presented with an opportunity to make a strong case against a mediocre bowling unit. After the first round was washed out in Guwahati, Rahul had the upper hand during Tuesday’s second T20 in Indore. Come Friday and Dhawan, the stylish left-hander will be keen to level the scores and help India seal yet another series at home with a strong outing at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s stadium on the outskirts of the education hub.

- A long training session -

While Rahul preferred to rest instead of joining his team-mates for an optional training session, Dhawan, who understandably looked rusty in his first appearance for India in two months, made optimum use of Thursday’s training at Gahunje. While Rishabh Pant was busy tonking the ball into the adjoining Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Dhawan put his head down and made the best effort to get his timing right. His was perhaps the longest stint in India’s two-and-a-half-hour session.

Also Read | Dhawan under pressure to keep his spot in ODIs

With the countdown to the T20 World Cup in October having switched into the next gear at the turn of the decade, it will be interesting to see if Dhawan can seize the opportunity on a belter of a track in Pune and continue to increase the selectors’ headache.

- One-man attack -

That Sri Lanka will be without Isuru Udana, the seasoned left-arm pacer who hurt his back in the field in Indore, may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Dhawan and Co. as it will continue to virtually leave the Sri Lankan bowling attack as a one-man bowling attack, with captain Lasith Malinga barely having any credible support.

 

Udana’s injury will most likely result in Angelo Mathews’ T20 comeback for Sri Lanka after well over 16 months. Captain Malinga and newly-appointed coach Mickey Arthur will be hoping that Mathews can give a fillip to his team-mates, especially in the batting department.

- All eyes on Mathews, Perera -

The Sri Lankan batsmen, barring Kusal Perera’s exception, looked at sea against India’s attack in Indore. They appeared listless in the second T20, both against the raw pace and variations of the pace triumvirate of Bumrah, Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur, and against the quality spin of Kuldeep Yadav and Washington Sundar.

With an injury-plagued bowling attack, Sri Lanka cannot even think of reliving the ghosts of 2016, when it bowled India out for 101 in a T20I at the same venue. If it has to even be competitive on Friday, Mathews and Perera will have to lead a batting revival to deprive India from running away from yet another series win at home.

SQUADS:

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(w), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sanju Samson, Manish Pandey.

Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera(w), Oshada Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Lasith Malinga(c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha.