India batted first after winning the toss in the final T20I in Colombo on Thursday. However, they got off to a horrific start as captain Shikhar Dhawan perished without scoring. India could never recover from the setback and kept losing regular wickets thereafter. They eventually crawled to 81 for 8 in their 20 overs. Kuldeep Yadav top-scored for India with an unbeaten 23.
Sri Lanka eased to victory in 14.3 overs as Dhananjaya de Silva (23 not out) and Wanindu Hasaranga (14 not out) took them past the finish line. Speaking after the victory, Shanaka said, “I should thank BCCI, under these conditions they agreed to play. Special thanks to Rahul Dravid and Shikhar Dhawan.”
On the team’s performance, he added, “This is the best we had (bowled) in the last few years. I had the (bowling) options and used them. Not only myself, all the boys worked really hard. They were keen to win and they want to be world class. The way Chameera started, Wanindu bowled, how calm DDS was, Karunaratne is a gem to SL cricket. All the boys did the right job. They handled the situation well and used their brains well. I am lucky to lead this team. When a low score is set, it's good if you get a more positive start. But they are young and learning, they'll be better in the future.”
Indian captain Dhawan admitted that it was a difficult situation for the team. He revealed that, as a team, they decided to stay and play the last two games. Praising the boys, Dhawan said, “Really proud of the boys as well. They showed great character in the last two games. Their attitude was tremendous. We wanted to win as well, in every game you learn. It was an off-day four our batting unit. We lost too many wickets, SL bowled well. When you lose early wickets, you get a lot of pressure, glad that we got to the 80s, that's all we managed today.”
On his chat with the Sri Lankan players after the game, Dhawan added, “The Sri Lankan boys wanted to know what's my process, I was just sharing my experience. I hope they enjoyed listening to it. And, congratulations to the Sri Lankan team.”
India are likely to head back home now but COVID-positive Krunal Pandya will have to stay in Sri Lanka until completes his isolation and tests negative.
--By A Cricket Correspondent