Sri Lanka thrash India in the opening T20 Series match

It was a packed crowd at the stadium in Nagpur that arrived to watch the pumping first T20 match played yesterday between India and Sri Lanka. As always it was an exciting atmosphere and the crowd was at its feet throughout 3 hour play which saw the home side lose with a 29 run margin against the visitors who posted a spectacular first innings total of 215 runs which is too big a total for any international side to chase.

The Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara belted a 37-ball 78 run stand and lead from the front in his team’s brutalsangassault against a weak Indian bowling and miserable fielding which might have caused the overall damage. Yuvraj Singh dropped a lolly of a catch off Sanath Jayasuriya after which he thwarted the bowling of Ashish Nehra in the 5th over, taking him for 22 runs. It wasn’t long before Dilshan was dropped by Ishant Sharma, who once again fumbled and dropped a straightforward catch off Sangakkara towards the end of the innings which cost another few extra boundaries and over-the-ropes.

Virender Sehwag looked aggressive at the start as always, square-cutting a loose delivery for a maximum and smashing one past the bowler which missed the non-striker by inches. But soon a change of bowling end saw Sehwag depart after mistiming a shot which he tried to hit over the top and was caught.

It was then his fellow opening partner Gautam Gambhir that did all the damage for the Lankan bowlers. As a T20 strategy he started firing shots aggressively through covers, through backward square and even came down the track executing a slow ball perfectly and hitting in over the long off field. He even played risky sweep-like looking shots off pace bowlers which kept on giving him luck in the form of boundaries but his intelligent, persevering innings which saw back to back boundaries bisecting 3-4 fielders on the off side came to end as he was bowled by Mathews after attempting another one of those paddle sweep shot trying to beat fine leg. It was a well made 26-ball 55 as Gambhir went past 500 T20 international runs, a feat which any other Indian player is yet to achieve.

The Indian innings’ momentum was once again disrupted as 40 year old veteran international cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya came to bowl his typical flat deliveries which saw the likes of Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh struggling to adapt. The wickets then kept tumbling until only Suresh Raina was able to entertain the crowd with his usual towards-the-end fighting spirit with which he hit a couple of sixes and a boundary, though eventually he too was dismissed shortly afterward. Yusuf Pathan’s international career still remains a big question mark as he scored another of many ducks during his short period playing for India. This came after he was walloped for 54 runs in his 4 over spell while the visitors were batting. Ashish Nehra was able to entertain the crowd in the end with a couple of sixes as the Indian innings ended with a score of 186/9 in its 20 overs.

It was a tough going for India in the opening T20 match. Let’s hope that the following one about to take place on 12th, Sunday could yield better results.