Suryakumar Yadav displayed his unmatched superiority yet again in the shortest format with a scintillating hundred as India outplayed Sri Lanka by 91 runs in the third T20I to secure a memorable series win in Rajkot on Saturday. Surya struck a sensational 112 not out off 51 balls for his third T20I century and fired India to an imposing 228 for five, making the job easier for his bowlers. He toyed with the Sri Lankan bowlers throughout, hitting fours and maximums at will and in his trademark manner all across the ground to notch his third century in the format.
The Indian bowlers then dominated as they skittled Sri Lanka for 137 to claim the series 2-1.
While the first two matches were neck and neck, India dominated the proceeding with both ball and bat in the decider, which is bound to boost the youngsters’ morale.
Chasing the stiff target, Pathum Nissanka (15) survived a first-ball appeal as he chose to review a leg before call off a Hardik Pandya delivery.
The two openers looked up for the challenge as they shared a brisk 44-run stand. While Nissanka hit Arshdeep Singh (3/20) for a couple of fours in the second over, he slammed consecutive sixes off Pandya in the next over.
With the pacers going for runs, Pandya introduced spin in the form of Axar Patel (1/19) and the left-arm spinner took the wicket of Kusal Mendis (23).
Arshdeep Singh then dismissed Nissanka in the next over while Pandya got Avishka Fernando (1).
The wily Yuzuvendra Chahal (2/30) was the next bowler to claim a wicket in the form of Charith Asalanka (19) courtesy Shivam Mavi, who ran to his left from deep cover to complete an excellent catch.
The ever-increasing required run rate troubled the visitors as they started finding Indian fielders and giving away their wickets.
Umran Malik (2/31) impressed with his raw pace again but India’s affair with extras continued as the bowlers bowled a no ball and 11 wides, including four by Arshdeep.
Earlier, after completing his fifty in 26 balls, Surya took only 19 deliveries to reach the 100-run mark. He ended the innings in style, hitting a six and a four off Chamika Karunaratne (1/52) in the last over.
Shubman Gill (46), who failed to go beyond single digit scores in the previous two matches, was cautious as he opened his account after playing nine dots with a six, followed by a four off Dilshan Madushanka (2/55) in the third over.
Rahul Triptahi played a 16-ball 35-run knock after Ishan Kishan (1) was sent back in the first over.
As soon as spin was introduced, Tripathi targeted Mahesh Theekshana (0/48) as he collected three fours from the fifth over. He scooped the first one over square leg, played the second to point and hit the third over mid-off.
Tripathi assumed the role of the aggressor as he pummelled Karunaratne (1/52) for twin sixes before perishing off a short ball, caught at short third.
India collected 53 for the loss of two wickets in the powerplay and while Gill continued to score at a slow pace, Surya was at his effortless best.
The world’s number one batter in the format looked like a man from another planet. He reached his half century by sending the ball to the boundary.
With Surya firing, Gill tried to up the ante at the other end as well. He hit Wanindu Hasaranga (1/36) for a six but as the batter moved down the wicket to dispatch the ball for another boundary, a leg-break got the better of him to put an end to a 111-run partnership.
Gill’s wicket saw a change in momentum as India lost skipper Hardik Pandya (4) and all-rounder Deepak Hooda (4) in quick succession.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual for Surya as he repeatedly timed the ball to perfection. He hit nine sixes and seven fours in his blazing knock.
Towards the end, he found an able ally in Axar Patel (21 not out) as the duo took India over the 220-run mark.
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