Colombo: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s oodles of experience in pressure situations came in handy as he successfully anchored a tricky chase, guiding India to a three-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in the second ODI, here on Thursday.
The former skipper scored a patient unbeaten 45 off 68 balls but more importantly mentored Bhuvneshwar Kumar (53 not out) as they added 100 runs for the eighth wicket to reach the revised victory target of 231 in 44.2 overs under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. India now take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
This was after unheralded mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya (6/48 in 9 overs) infused life into a series, which has been panned by all and sundry for the lopsided contests starting with the Test matches.
India were reduced to 131 for 7 when Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar joined forces. Tbe pitch which looked easy for batting 15 minutes prior to their union, was looking venomous after the Indian batting line-up for the first time in the past one month were asked a few testing questions.
Dhoni, whose finishing skills have been put to test in recent times showed that experience worth its weight in gold as he tapped around for singles and doubles. The target being a modest one and the run-rate being under check also helped his cause as his innings only had one boundary.
The former skipper soaked in the pressure initially as Bhuvneshwar played a lot of dot balls. However once the partnership crossed 40, the UP criketer showed that he is more than a capable batsmen.
Dananjaya was hit for two boundaries in the 40th over by Bhuvneshwar when the match decisively swung in India’s favour. It ended in an anti-climax when the winning runs came through a wide delivery. But the match will also be remembered for a 15-minute mayhem that had left the much-vaunted Indian batting in complete tatters.
Chasing a revised victory target post rain interruption, India were cruising along with Rohit Sharma (54 off 45 balls) in sublime touch. Alongside man of the moment, Shikhar Dhawan (49 off 50 balls). The duo put on 109 runs for the opening stand before Dananjaya bowled a flipper which saw found Rohit missing a sweep shot.