Cricket as such is a funny game. You can sweat it out for as long as five entire days and still not get a winner while on the other hand a sudden burst of adrenaline/brilliance can change the entire complexion in a matter of minutes. India came into the series having whitewashed the Australians in their own backyard. Yes, the Kangaroos don’t jump as high in T20 Internationals as they do in the other formats but nothing can take the sheen away from what the Indian side achieved.
Coming into a familiar terrain and up against a depleted opponent, another whitewash was certainly expected. Unfortunately, the Indian batting was at the receiving end of a sizeable amount of brilliance from the Lankan bowlers in Pune. The Indian batsmen struggled to keep the scoreboard moving and the spineless display saw them fold for a paltry 101. Inspite of a few hiccups, Sri Lanka managed to get over the line. The win was significant for them as they were missing a lot of their regulars and it was a huge confidence boost. Moving to Ranchi, the Lankans were looking to create another upset and seal the series in Dhoni’s hometown. They had another thing coming though. Dhawan and Rohit mercilessly bludgeoned their bowlers and India were off to a flier. Dhawan in particular was very impressive with the pick-up shot over deep square leg catching everyone’s eye. Cameos from Raina and a promoted Hardik Pandya saw India amass a mammoth 196. A heartwarming reversal from a diabolical batting campaign a couple of days prior to that.
Sri Lanka were never really in the game as they lost wickets at regular intervals. The Indian bowlers executed their plans perfectly which gave them a thumping 69 run win. Vizag was scheduled to host the decider with India staring as firm favorites. Dhoni called it right and put his opponents in to bat. What followed was a bowling masterclass lead by Ravichandran Ashwin. India’s leading spinner finished with 4 wickets as Sri Lanka were bundled out for a paltry 82. Dhawan and Rohit started slowly but with just 83 to get, the run rate was never a problem. Even after Rohit fell, Dhawan combined with Rahane to make sure that India won its first bilateral T20I series at home under Dhoni.
With comprehensive series victories at home and in Australia, the World T20 preparation has started brilliantly for India. Sri Lanka on the other hand will await the return of their senior players and will hope that their young side can have a decent preparation during the Asia Cup. India will look to fine tune and give a few players like Yuvraj more chances to get back to his best. For now, Dhoni and his boys can sit back and enjoy what has been a commendable performance.