Tue, Dec 26, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Paceman Unadkat shines as India sweep Sri Lanka

AFP, MUMBAI, India

India’s Lokesh Rahul, third right, takes a selfie with his teammates wearing Santa caps after their victory over Sri Lanka in the third Twenty20 international in Mumbai, India, on Sunday.

Photo: AP

Paceman Jaydev Unadkat on Sunday led a disciplined attack to set up India’s five-wicket win in the third Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka as the hosts completed a 3-0 whitewash.

Unadkat returned impressive figures of 2-15 to help restrict the visitors to 135-7.

India then achieved their target with four balls to spare in a tense chase at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Manish Pandey top-scored with 32, but it was Dinesh Karthik (18) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) who put on an unbeaten 31-run stand to take the team home.

The win ensured that India end the year on a high after outplaying Sri Lanka in the Test (1-0), one-day international (2-1) and Twenty20 series.

“I think it’s a team effort. The work ethic of each and every guy. They’ve done their homework thoroughly. It showed they were ready for the opportunity,” India skipper Rohit Sharma said. “Lot of the guys were playing their first or second game, but it didn’t feel like that. It was our job as the team management to back them completely.”

However, Sri Lanka put the hosts under pressure with regular strikes as paceman Dushmantha Chameera and medium-pacer Dasun Shanaka claimed two wickets each.

Shanaka got Sharma for 27 early in the chase.

The in-form Sharma hit four fours and a six during his 20-ball stay, but his wicket silenced the crowd.

Shreyas Iyer, who scored 30 before being run out while backing up at the non-strikers end, and Pandey then put on a gritty 42-run stand for the third wicket, but their departure spelled trouble.

However, veterans Karthik and Dhoni stayed calm in the final few overs when India needed 20 off 18 balls.

Earlier, Asela Gunaratne, who top-scored with 36, and Shanaka, who hit an unbeaten 29 off 24 balls, gave some respectability to the total after the visitors lost their top three batsmen for 18 runs.

“We learned a lot because we all know India is a big team at the moment,” Sri Lanka skipper Thisara Perera said. “As bowlers, we did pretty well today also. Have to click with our batting. After that, we can go far.”

The 27-year-old Unadkat was named Man of the Match and Man of the Series for his four wickets and disciplined bowling in the three Twenty20 games.

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