Colombo, July 21:
Tail-ender Deepak Chahar brought India back from the dead with a steely 69 off 82 balls and script the visiting team’s series-sealing victory in the second ODI against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday.
Chasing 276, India were down and out at 193 for seven before Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19 not out off 28) forged an unbeaten 84-run stand to seal a memorable win for the visitors who extended their record of not losing an ODI on Sri Lanka soil since 2012.
“No better way to win the match for the country. Rahul sir told me to play all the balls. I’ve played a few innings with India A (when Rahul Dravid was coach) and I think he has belief in me. He told me he thinks I’m good enough to be a No. 7 (but he batted at 8). He has belief in me. Hopefully in the coming matches I don’t have to bat. When we came under 50 that’s when I believed we can win. Before that it was ball by ball. I took some risks after,” said Chahar at the post match presentation.
Chahar, whose highest score before this game was 12, showed remarkable resolve and composure under pressure to take his team over the line with five balls to spare. He fittingly hit the winning boundary.
It was India’s ninth consecutive bilateral series win over Sri Lanka. The third ODI will be played on Friday.
It was expected to be another comfortable chase for India after Sri Lanka put an improved batting effort to post 275 for nine.
However, questionable shot selection from the majority of the Indian batsmen gave their struggling opponents hope.
Barring Chahar and Suryakumar Yadav (53), the Indian batsmen faltered. Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga troubled the Indians with his variations and ended up being the stand out bowler for his team.
India felt the heat early on in the chase with Prithvi Shaw and Ishan Kishan, who both blew away the opposition in the opener on Sunday, getting out to bad shots.
Earlier, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal led India’s decent effort with the ball. Pretty much like the series opener, most of the Sri Lankan batsmen got starts but failed to capitalise after the hosts opted to bat.
The momentum shifted India’s way drastically after Chahal removed Minod and Bhanuka Rajapaksa off successive balls in the 14th over.