Suryakumar Yadav’s scintillating hundred followed by an impressive all-round bowling performance helped India thrash Sri Lanka by 91 runs in the third and final T20I at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot to clinch the three-match series 2-1.
The Hardik Pandya-led India, earlier, beat Sri Lanka by two runs in a nail-biting first T20I at the Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai, following which the visitors secured a 16-run victory in the second encounter at the MCA Stadiun in Pune to level the series 1-1 ahead of the Rajkot clash.
In Saturday’s series decider, India won the toss and elected to bat first on a good batting track.
The hosts suffered an early blow as opener Ishan Kishan was dismissed for 1 by Sri Lankan left-arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka in the very first over.
But things took a positive turn for India as Rahul Tripathi joined Shubman Gill in the middle. Playing in just the second match of his career, Tripathi played an eye-catching cameo as he scored a quickfire 16-ball 35 to provide an accelerated start to India. Even though fast bowler Chamika Karunaratne removed Tripathi to end the 49-run partnership, the momentum was put into good use by the next batter.
Suryakumar Yadav, ranked No.1 in T20Is, continued to do what he is best known for. The 32-year-old Mumbai-born cricketer smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the ground.
Yadav and Gill forged a brilliant 111-run partnership off just 53 balls before Gill was dismissed for a well-made 46.
While the Men in Blue later lost skipper Pandya (4) and Deepak Hooda (4) in quick succession, Suryakumar continued to play his mesmerizing shots to bring up his third T20I hundred off just 45 balls. This was the second-fastest T20I hundred by an Indian- only behind Rohit Sharma’a 35-ball ton which came against the same opposition in Indore in 2017.
Yadav remained unbeaten on 112 off 51 balls along with all-rounder Axar Patel’s unbeaten 9-ball 21 to power India to a mammoth score of 228/5, at the end of 20 overs.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals as the visitors were bowled out for 137 in 16.4 overs.
Captain Dasun Shanaka and wicketkeeper-batter Kusal Mendis top-scored for Sri Lanka with 23 apiece.
For India, Punjab Kings’ pacer Arshdeep Singh was the wrecker-in-chief with the ball. The left-arm fast bowler bounced back strongly from an off-day in the last game to finish the series-decider with three wickets for 20 runs in his 2.4 overs.
Umran Malik, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Hardik also bagged two wickets each to seal another memorable T20I series victory for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Yadav was the obvious choice for the Player of the Match award while Patel was adjudged the Player of the Series for amassing 117 runs and also claiming three wickets.
India and Sri Lanka will resume their rivalry when they lock horns in the first One-Day International (ODI), to kick off another three-match series, at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday, January 10.