Renuka Singh shone with the ball before Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma’s unbeaten record first-wicket partnership led India to a 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second One-Day International.
After winning the T20I series 2-1, India claimed an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series.
Chasing 174, Mandhana and Verma got off to a quick start, putting up 50 runs in nine overs. Mandhana (94) took charge of the chase with her impeccable timing to find the gaps in the Sri Lankan field.
The usually aggressive Verma took a subdued approach, opting to rotate strike and scoring only 22 of her 71 runs though thr four boundaries and one six she hit.
The pair were also helped by Sri Lanka putting down a few catches. Verma got a reprieve when she was on 39 when the fielder at long on dropped a sitter.
Mandhana was also a beneficieary of a dropped chance when Inoka Ranaweera couldn’t hold on to a catch off her own bowling. Mandhana made the most of her second life, clobbering the Lankan spinners to all parts of the ground.
The pair soon brought up their first 100-run stand in ODIs to become only the third pair to share a century stand in Tests, ODIs and T20Is after Thirush Kamini-Punam Raut and Meg Lanning-Rachael Haynes.
The duo then upped the tempo, bringing up the next 50 in just 30 balls and soon claimed the record for the highest partnership for India in any wicket in women’s ODIs against Sri Lanka.
Mandhana almost brought up her sixth ODI hundred clubbing a four and a six off Kanchana to reach 94 with India needing just three runs to win. But it wasn’t to be.
With that win, India climbed to second position in the ICC Women’s Championship cycle for 2022-’25.
ICC Women's Championship Standings 2022-25
Earlier, India bowled out Sri Lanka for 173 in 50 overs after opting to bowl.
While the first ODI was played on a slow turning pitch, Harmanpreet Kaur reckoned that the pitch would aid seamers.
Her decision was vindicated as Renuka Singh ripped through the Sri Lankan top-order in a devastating opening spell. She went through Hasini Perera’s defences in the first over of the match before getting rid of debutant Vishmi Gunaratne in similar fashion. She got her third wicket by trapping Harshitha Samarawickrama plumb in front of the wicket to reduce Sri Lanka to 11/3 after 6.1 overs.
Captain Chamari Athapaththu had to steady the innings and found luck on her side when she sliced one behind to the first slip early in her innings. The ball, however, looked like it had bumped after coming off the bat and the TV umpire stood with the on-field umpire’s soft signal of not-out.
Athapaththu made the most of her reprieve to score 27 before flicking a Meghna Singh half-volley to fine leg. Anushka Sanjeewani, who was looking in good touch, was then dismissed by an alert Yastika Bhatia behind the wickets.
After tapping a yorker to short leg, Sanjeewani wandered out of the crease in her follow through allowing Bhatia to break the stumps with a behind-the-back throw. More misery awaited Sri Lanka after Kavish Dilhari was run out while ball watching, leaving the home side at 81/6.
Like in the first ODI, it fell to Nilakshi de Silva to rebuild the Lankan innings and she was ably supported by Ama Kanchana.
De Silva fell in the 39th over leaving Kanchana to anchor the innings and the 31-year-old put up 50 runs with the tail in the last 10 overs. Kanchana was unlucky to miss out on a first ODI half-century being unbeaten on 47 after 50 overs.
For India, player of the match Renuka Singh was the pick of the bowlers finishing with career-best figures of 4/28. Fellow seamer Meghna Singh picked up two wickets as did Deepti Sharma.
In the post-match presentation following the victory, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said: “We have been talking about long partnerships and thankfully we got it today. I am happy with the way we batted, it was outstanding to watch. I am very happy that the bowlers are giving breakthroughs whenever need.
Player of the match Renuka Singh said: “I’ve been working on my strength, practicing my hard lengths and variations. We read the wicket well, that’s why we bowled first. The weather was to our advantage as well. Our management asked us to keep things very simple and stick to our strengths.”
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