WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India
Mar 06, 2018, 05.12 PM
Kusal Perera's ballistic knock paved way for Sri Lanka to clinch the first T20 International match against India at Colombo on Tuesday.
The hosts won the opener of the T20 tri-series by five wickets after India, despite having early advantages failed to defend 174.
Perera went on to score 66 runs off 37 balls, before getting stumped off Washington Sundar.
Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis gave the hosts a decent start with the two scoring 33 and 11 runs respectively.
But it was Kusal Mendis' wickets which at one point damaged the Sri Lankan innings.
However, Perera managed to fill the vacuum by smashing Shardul Thakur for five fours and one six to help his team recover the loss.
The Men In Blue had set a decent target of 175 runs for Sri Lanka with Shikhar Dhawan scoring his fifth T20 International fifty.
Dhawan's aggressive 90-run knock came off just 49 balls.
Dhawan’s knock and his superb partnership with Manish Pandey helped India recover after they had lost Rohit Sharma for 0 and Suresh Raina for 1.
The Indian skipper fell to a brilliant catch running back by Jeevan Mendis while Raina was bowled off a full toss by Nuwan Pradeep
Pandey played in an impressively splendid manner before giving away his wicket to Mendis. He scored 37 runs off 35 balls.
Sri Lanka won the toss and asked India to bat first in the tri-series opener at R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma-led team entered the tournament with the favourites tag, but they will be put to test by the hosts and Bangladesh as the Men in Blue will be without the likes of Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
However, captain Rohit Sharma played down the perception, saying anything can happen in the fickle T20 format.
"Not worried about losing the toss. Looks a good pitch, we need to come out and play good cricket for 40 overs. I want to start the series on a fresh note. It's a perfect opportunity for the youngsters to showcase their skills. They have done well in the domestic tournaments."
Other big names such as Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav have all been rested.
The visitors clinched the ODI and the T20 series in the recently-concluded tour of South Africa, but beating Sri Lanka again in their own den won’t be an easy ride.
Talking about the strategy Sri Lankan skipper will adopt, he said
"We are bowling first. Looks a good pitch. We need to restrict them and get the total in the second half. We are playing seven batters and four bowlers."
The Nidahas trophy, which will go on till March 18th is being played to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th year of independence.