India-Sri Lanka matches have become a bit of an internet joke, with a succession of bilateral matches leading to viewer fatigue. However, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala wants to see even more clashes between the subcontinent neighbours, comparing it to the Ashes series.
In the last nine months, India have toured Sri Lanka and hosted the islanders for two separate full tours. And the two teams are currently participating in the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series, also involving Bangladesh.
In all, the teams have played six Tests, eight ODIs and six T20s within nine months. Starting in July last year, India blanked Sri Lanka 3-0 in the Test series, 5-0 in ODIs while winning the one-off T20. Then Sri Lanka visited India late last year, losing the three-Test series 0-1, the ODI series 1-2 and T20 rubbers 0-3. And they have played two T20s in the tri-series so far.
SLC chief Sumathipala wants the teams to play each other even more.
“Australia is playing England in the Ashes many times. They play five Tests. So we feel we should play more with India. They are the number one side. Except this tournament, all were bilateral series agreed by the FTP (Future Tours Programme). It sometimes happens that teams play each other frequently while some don’t play for 6-7 years due to FTP pressures,” Sumathipala was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times during the inauguration of Sri Lanka’s new ‘Brain Centre’ for player development.
Middle order batsman KL Rahul became the first Indian to be out hit wicket in a T20 match but that didn’t stop Rohit Sharma’s team from registering a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the T20 tri-series on Monday.
Rahul, batting on 18 as India chased Sri Lanka’s total of 152-9, stepped onto the backfoot to play leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis on the on-side but disturbed the stumps with his heel. He thus became the first Indian and 10th overall to be out hit wicket in the shortest format.
However, despite his strange dismissal, India romped to a six-wicket win and avenged their five-wicket defeat in the first game against the hosts in the Nidahas Trophy.
Middle-order batsman Manish Pandey (42 not out) and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik (39 not out) added 68 runs after Rahul’s dismissal to see the side home.
Earlier, fast bowler Shardul Thakur bagged 4-27 off his four overs as the Sri Lankans posted 152 in Colombo.
Kusal Mendis slammed a quickfire half-century to boost Sri Lanka’s total.
The opener hit three fours and as many sixes in his 38-ball knock after India won the toss and opted to bowl first at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
The match was reduced to 19-overs a side after the start was delayed by about an hour due to rain and a wet outfield.
Mendis, though, got little support from the other batsmen as the hosts kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Paceman Thakur was the best bowler on show while up-and-coming off-spinner Washington Sundar (2-21) helped India fight back after leaking 94 runs in the first 10 overs.
After a terrific comeback T20I series against South Africa, in which he earned man of the match for his 43-run knock in the decider, Raina is currently part of the India team competing in the Nidahas Trophy against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
And while Raina’s love for music in known to most of his fans, he was at his very best, singing “Yeh Shaam Mastaani” – a Kishore Kumar classic from the movie Kati Patang, to lighten the mood of his team-mates ahead of an important game against the hosts.
The 31-year-old posted the video on his Instagram account while enjoying the song at a hotel. The caption read – “Practice like you never won & perform like you never lost” – clearly I have nothing to loose with my singing skills! Fun times with my fun team!”