A combined effort helped India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the fourth match of the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket tri-series at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium here on Monday.Chasing 152/9 target in a match which was curtailed to 19 overs due to rain, Rohit Sharma (11) and Shikhar Dhawan (8) could not provide the start India wanted. The duo was sent back to the pavilion in the fourth over with only 22 runs on board.New batsmen Lokesh Rahul (18) and Suresh Raina (27), who were looking good at the crease, were dismissed after getting a good start.The first one to go was Raina in the seventh over. His time at the crease was cut short by Nuwan Pradeep when scoreboard was reading 62 runs.Three overs later, Rahul got hit-wicket off Jeevan Mendis.But after that, Manish Pandey (42) and Dinesh Karthik (39) played sensibly and made sure that their team overhaul the target without any more hiccups. Together they forged an unbeaten 68-run partnership.For Sri Lanka, Akila Dananjaya took two wickets.Earlier, put in to bat, Sri Lanka posted 152/9. The hosts lost their wickets at regular intervals. Apart from opener Kusal Mendis (55), no other batsmen contributed handsomely.
The hosts started on a steady note but when scoreboard was reading 25 runs in three overs, opener Danushka Gunathilaka (17) was dismissed by pacer Shardul Thakur.Incoming batsmen Kusal Perera (3) also failed this time and was sent packing cheaply by leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the very next over.With scoreboard reading 34/2, Mendis and new batsman Upul Tharanga (22) joined hands and forged a 58-run partnership to stabilise the innings.Just when things seemed good in the middle, Tharanga was sent back by pacer Vijay Shankar in the 11th over, making the score read 96/3.Skipper Thisara Perera (15) also failed to rise to the occasion and gifted away his wicket to Thakur when he was needed the most.Lower middle-order batsmen Jeevan Mendis (5), Dasun Shanaka (19), Akila Dananjaya (5) tried to score quickly towards the end but could not provide the finish Sri Lanka wanted.For India, Thakur scalped four wickets while Washington Sundar took two wickets.Brief scores: Sri Lanka 152/9 (Kusal Mendis 55, Shardul Thakur 4/27); India 153/4 (Manish Pandey 42 not out, Dinesh Karthik 39 not out, Akila Dananjaya 2/19)