Sri Lanka edged out India in the second Twenty20 by 16 runs in Pune in yet another last-over thriller between the two sides to level the three-match series 1-1.
Axar Patel scored a blazing 20-ball half-century while Suryakumar Yadav scored 51 to give India hope after stitching a 91-run partnership after India were reduced to 57/5 in a 207-run chase.
After Suryakumar’s dismissal in the sixteenth over, Shivam Mavi scoring 26 off 15, also combined with Axar but the hope was brief as Kasun Rajitha bowled a crucial penultimate over to concede just 12 runs against the Indian pair that was on song.
Eventually, the pressure of having to score 20 runs in the final over got to India as skipper Dasun Shanaka dismissed both Axar and Mavi and successfully defended the target.
Having won the toss, India captain, Hardik Pandya elected to bowl against Sri Lanka even though the venue statistically favours chasing sides.
Earlier in the match, it was Shanaka who smashed an unbeaten 56 off 22 balls to fire Sri Lanka to 206-6 against India.
Shanaka’s onslaught included two fours and six sixes as Sri Lanka hammered 77 runs in the final five overs after being invited to bat first in Pune.
Kusal Mendis, who hit 52 off 31 balls, put on an 80-run opening stand with Pathum Nissanka, who made 33, to lay the foundations for the challenging total.
But Shanaka raised his fifty in 20 deliveries with a six off previous match hero Shivam Mavi in a 20-run final over as he put on an unbeaten 68-run stand with Chamika Karunaratne.
Tearaway quick Umran Malik took three wickets but gave away 48 runs from his four overs.
Fellow quick Arshdeep Singh was guilty of bowling five of the seven no balls in the innings.
Mendis reached his fifty off 27 deliveries with a cracking six off Umran, who bowled the fastest ball of 155 kmph (96.3 mph) by an Indian bowler in the previous match.
Yuzvendra Chahal broke through to get Mendis trapped lbw and Sri Lanka lost three more wickets including two to Axar.
Charith Asalanka, a left-hand batsman, hit back with two successive sixes off Chahal and then carted Umran for another hit over the fence.
But the quick bowler soon had his revenge as he got Asalanka caught at deep mid-wicket for 37 and bowled Wanindu Hasaranga on the next ball for a duck.
Shanaka then made the innings his own as Sri Lanka look to keep the three-series alive after they lost the opener on Tuesday.
With inputs from AFP