A stunning 51-ball 112 not out from Suryakumar Yadav propelled India to a massive win by 91 runs in the third and final T20I against Sri Lanka, played at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Ground in Rajkot on Saturday night. India had won the first T20I by 2 runs in a thrilling finish in Mumbai last Tuesday, following which Sri Lanka had levelled the series on Thursday, beating the hosts by 17 runs in the second match in Pune.
The batsmen failed to take the team past the finish line in the second ODI match at Pune, it was imperative that the Indian batsmen turn off the heat on the Sri Lankan bowlers when they had a paternity to bat first and put up a big total on the board.
There was still a challenge to be handled, with early movement off the surface assisting the Sri Lankan fast bowlers with Dilshan Madushanka accounting for the dangerous Ishan Kishan (1) early on in the game.
Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi tried to take the attack to the Sri Lankan bowlers with the latter producing a fine example of his batting prowess in the shortest format in the second match of his career. Rahul Tripathi smacked 2 sixes and 5 fours to push Sri Lanka on the backfoot, derail their bowling plans and put India on the track for a huge total with a brisk knock.
Rahul Tripathi perished for 35 from 16 balls but his knock had set the platform and given India the much needed momentum. The innings was set on fire, however, by the world’s best batsman in the format Suryakumar Yadav who ripped apart and the Russian Lankan bowlers to set up a strong total for India in the process.
Once again, Suryakumar Yadav displayed his immense ability to hit the ball in any corner of the ground, Suryakumar Yadav scored a 45-ball hundred to finish at 112 not out from just 51 balls with a grand total of nine sixes and seven boundaries, notching up his third century in the format in only 43 innings so far.
On the other end, Shubman Gill played a satisfied 46 from 36 balls with three sixes and two boundaries, biding his time in the middle and providing the support role for majority of his day in the middle. India captain Hardik Pandya and Deepak Hooda both perished for four each but Akshar Patel once again showcased while he is away till cock in this Indian lineup, hitting four boundaries to make 21 not out from 15 balls towards the end of the Indian innings.
Even though the pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Ground in Pune assisted fast bowlers at the start, the Indian bowlers were a little wayward with Arshdeep Singh struggling for his line and the swing that the ball was getting in the air.
The opening partnership for Sri Lanka lasted for 4.5 overs in which they had added 44 runs with both Pathum Nissanka (15) and Kusal Mendis getting off the blocks impressively.
Despite making a confident start, Sri Lanka startled at regular intervals to lose wickets as none of their batsmen could really bat long and deep. Kusal Mendis and Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka were the joint top-scorers with 23 each while Dhananjaya de Silva let some attractive strokes before perishing for 22.
The Indian bowlers did not make any elementary mistake like in the first match of the series and keep striking at regular intervals which resulted in Sri Lanka being bowled out for just 137 and 16.4 overs, and India clinching the game by a huge margin of 91 runs to take the series 2-1.
With the win, India completed their 12th consecutive series win at home in T20Is while this was also their fifth T20I series win against Sri Lanka. The two teams will now be engaged in a three-match ODI series to be played on January 10, 12 and 15 in Guwahati, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram.