The Eden Gardens did not witness a high-scoring game like Barsapara. But the result was no different, with India sealing the series with a four-wicket win.
Kuldeep Yadav bamboozled the Sri Lankan batters to help India bundle out Sri Lanka for 215 with more than 10 overs remaining in its essay. K.L. Rahul’s sedate fifty and 75-run association with Hardik Pandya for the fifth wicket helped the host side cross the line in the 44th over.
The Lankan pacers put up an excellent display on Thursday and pegged India back to 86 for four. With no scoreboard pressure and the dew starting to play a part in the outfield, Rahul and Hardik played risk-free cricket to put India on the verge of a win.
As it happened | IND vs SL 2nd ODI
While Hardik chased a wide one from Chamika Karunaratne — like captain Rohit Sharma early on — Rahul hung on and finished the game with Kuldeep for company. Kuldeep fittingly hit the winning runs with a tennis-ball swat off Lahiru Kumara for four.
Kuldeep among wickets
When Kuldeep, who got a look-in only because Yuzvendra Chahal was ruled out due to a sore shoulder, was introduced into the attack in the 17th over, the Islanders were in a dominant position.
At 99 for one, debutant Nuwanidu Fernando and Kusal Mendis had already put on 70 runs in 10 overs after Avishka Fernando played Mohammed Siraj on to his stumps in the PowerPlay.
It took Kuldeep just six balls to break the association. Mendis could not read the left-arm wrist-spinner’s googly and was plumb in front of the wickets. Then on, it was a carnage for the next half hour as India earned five wickets for just 24 runs in 45 balls to leave Sri Lanka reeling at 126 for six from a comfortable 102 for one.
Dhananjaya de Silva misread his first ball in Axar Patel’s over to be bowled off his pads. Captain Dasun Shanaka missed a sweep off Kuldeep to lose his leg-stump, and Charith Asalanka misread a wrong-un to offer a dolly to Kuldeep in his follow-through.
In between, Nuwanidu was stranded in the middle of the crease, thanks to Shubman Gill’s excellence in the field. Despite the lower order showing a semblance of resilience, the damage by the spinners was too much for Sri Lanka.
The premature closure of the innings meant that the host association was forced to postpone the laser show – originally planned during the innings break – till the end of the match. In the end, the majority of 50,000-plus locals stayed back to celebrate their team’s win, despite a stutter.