Sports: Rajitha and Shanaka shine in Sri Lanka win against India

(From AP)

Rookie seam bowlers Kasun Rajitha and Dasun Shanaka played havoc on a lively pitch as Sri Lanka beat India by five wickets in their first Twenty20 international in the three-game series.

Sri Lanka' s Dinesh Chandimal bats during their first Twenty20 cricket match against India in Pune Tuesday

Sri Lanka’ s Dinesh Chandimal bats during their first Twenty20 cricket match against India in Pune Tuesday

Rajitha triggered an early collapse by grabbing 3-29 on his debut, while Shanaka ripped through the middle order with 3-16 in only his second T20 to help bowl out India for just 101 in 18.5 overs.

World Twenty20 champion Sri Lanka reached in 105-5 in 18 overs, with captain Dinesh Chandimal top-scoring with 35.

Sri Lanka gave an impressive display despite the absence through injury of experienced players Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara for this series, and Tillakaratne Dilshan for this game.

Rajitha started his international career with a bang as he dismissed opener Rohit Sharma (0) with only his second delivery and also accounted for Ajinkya Rahane (4) off the sixth to justify Chandimal’s decision to bowl first. Rohit was caught at mid-off and Rahane got a leading edge toward short cover.

Rajitha then dismissed Shikhar Dhawan (9) as the left-hander was caught at third-man and India was reduced to 32-3 after five overs.

Shanaka then got into the act, bowling Suresh Raina (20) and having captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2) caught behind in the space of three deliveries in his first over. He also came on to trap allrounder Hardik Pandya (2) lbw in his second over.

With Yuvraj Singh (10) having fallen in between to Dushmantha Chameera, India was reduced to 58-7 in 11 overs and a fighting 31 not out from Ravichandran Ashwin could barely take India past the 100-run mark.

“I’m over the moon,” Chandimal said. “I thought the toss was important because we could see some fresh grass on the pitch. The credit goes to our bowlers. We missed a lot of senior players but the youngsters have grabbed the opportunity.”

India pace bowler Ashish Nehra did take a couple of early wickets but Sri Lanka was always in control during the chase with Chandimal taking the lead.

Chandimal added 39 runs for the third wicket with Chamara Kapugedera (25) as the visiting side went through comfortably.

“These were more like English conditions than Indian conditions,” Dhoni said. “Our shot selection should have been better. Looking at the positives, everybody got a chance today, and we kept pressing hard.”

The second game is on Friday, the third on Sunday.

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