Sri Lanka’s Thilina Kandamby smashed a solid 93 not out under pressure, but failed to stop India from posting a 15-run victory in the second one-day international on Saturday.
The tourists restricted Sri Lanka to 241 after scoring 256-9 in the day-night match, which was held up for five minutes during the hosts’ innings after Indian fielder Ishant Sharma was struck by an object from the stands.
The 20-year-old pace man Sharma (4-57) was the bowling star for India, who now lead 2-0 in the five-match series.
“Overall, it was a good effort, but we have to be careful as sometimes we relax a bit. We made a few mistakes in the field,” India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
Indian fast bowlers Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar and Sharma did the early damage, exploiting the conditions well under lights during their sharp opening spells to reduce the hosts to 36-3 in the eighth over.
Left-handed Kandamby sustained his team’s hopes with a 100-run stand for the fourth wicket with skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who regained form with 52 — his first half-century in 14 one-day internationals.
But the asking rate kept climbing despite impressive knocks from Jayawardene and Kandamby, with Sri Lanka needing 91 to win with six wickets in hand in the last 10 overs.
India then strengthened their position when man-of-the-match Sharma removed Chamara Kapugedera (31) and Farveez Maharoof (7) in successive overs.
Kandamby, playing only his ninth one-day international, hit nine fours in his 129-ball knock for his second half-century.
“It was a bit too much for Kandamby to finish off the game,” Jayawardene said. “The Indians played better cricket, but credit to our guys as well. We played good cricket, but we need to be even better when playing a team like India.”
India earlier rode on Yuvraj Singh’s 66 to post a competitive total after electing to bat.
The middle-order batsman’s 38th half-century came after his side had lost three wickets for 83 runs. He steadied the innings with an 85-run stand for the fourth wicket with Suresh Raina (29).
Yuvraj applied himself remarkably well on a slow pitch and reached his half-century in style, driving off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan through the covers for a four.
Yuvraj hit one six and seven fours in his 88-ball knock, before falling to a dubious decision, adjudged out leg before wicket by Sri Lankan umpire Gamini Silva off pace man Nuwan Kulasekara.
The TV replays suggested the batsman had inside-edged the delivery on to his pads.
India managed just 46 in the closing 10 overs as seamer Maharoof (2-40) and Muralitharan did not allow the batsmen to score freely.
Record-seeking Muralitharan went wicketless, but conceded only 32 in his 10 tight overs. He is still two wickets short of surpassing former Pakistani pace man Wasim Akram’s world record of 502.
India got off to a brisk start as they raced to 83 off 12.2 overs, but lost three big wickets in the process.
Virender Sehwag (42) and Gautam Gambhir (27) punished Sri Lanka’s new-ball bowlers with their bold stroke play after the third-over dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar (6), trapped leg before by Kulasekara.
Kulasekara was replaced by Maharoof after conceding 42 in his opening six overs. Maharoof struck instantly, having Gambir caught behind with his third delivery.
Sehwag’s flourish ended when he was caught short of the crease while going for a third run. He hit seven fours in his 26-ball knock.