2nd ODI: MS Dhoni-Bhuvi tango comes to the rescueAugust 25, 2017
PALLEKELE: Chasing 231 for victory, few would have put their money on India when they were reeling at 131 for seven in 21.5 overs. The only saving grace for India was that Mahendra Singh Dhoni was out there in the middle. A veteran of many a battle, the former skipper silenced his critics by proving once again that he still remains one of the finest ‘finishers’ in the game.
Dhoni, though, was ably supported by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The duo kept their cool, grafted for runs and added 100 runs in an unfinished eighth wicket stand to guide India to an incredible three-wicket win. While Dhoni remained undefeated on 45 off 68 balls, hitting just one boundary, Bhuvi notched his maiden ODI half-century (53) with the help of four fours and a six.
The win helped India to go 2-0 up in the five-match ODI series.
For Lanka, it was yet another case of so near yet so far. The defeat must have rekindled their memories of this year’s Champions Trophy loss to Pakistan when they had lost the match from a winning position.
Akila Dananjaya was the tragic hero. Having replaced leg-spinner Wanidu de Silva, Dananjaya bowled a dream spell to rip out India’s middle order before Dhoni and Bhuvi spoiled got their act together.
With Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan going great guns after a rain delay which saw their target revised to 231 from 47 overs, it looked like the match was headed for an early finish. The two Indian openers added 109in 15.2 overs before Dananjaya drew first blood by trapping Rohit LBW. The batsman reviewed the call in vain. Siriwardana chipped in with the wicket of Dhawan, before Dananjaya struck telling blows, removing Kedar Jadhav (1), skipper Virat Kohli (4) and KL Rahul (4) -all failing to read his wrong ones.
Dananjaya was not done yet. He added the scalps of Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel to leave India staring down the barrel. Dhoni had to draw upon his wealth of experience to bail India out. Dananjaya, who got married on Wednesday, finished with figures of 654.
Earlier, in a virtual replay of the first ODI in Dambulla, Sri Lanka once again failed to capitalise on a good start and ended up with 238 for eight after being put into bat by Kohli. A 91-run sixth wicket stand between Siriwardana and Chamara Kapugedera helped Lanka put up a decent total.