Adding salts to India’s wounds, Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas said that the Jasprit Bumrah no-ball that let off opener Upul Tharanga was one of the turning points in the low scoring series-opener in Dharamsala.
Defending a modest total of 112, India began on a good note by dismissing Danushka Gunathilaka (1) and Lahiru Thirimanne cheaply (0). India would have been firmly in the driver’s seat had Bumrah not overstepped when Tharanga, while batting on just 11, had edged a ball to Dinesh Karthik. The former Sri Lanka skipper had started walking back to the dressing room before being held up by the umpires to check the no-ball. And it proved to be another costly no-ball from the India pacer, who had delivered the infamous no-ball to Fakhar Zaman in this year’s Champions Trophy final.
Tharanga went on to score a fluent 46-ball 49 on a tough pitch as Sri Lanka chased down the total with considerable ease to go one-nil up in the three-match series. Speaking after the match, Pothas said that the no-ball was the turning point and also mentioned the role of the toss.
“I firmly believe that there were two massive moments in the game,” Pothas told journalists. “The toss was one and the no-ball to Upul Tharanga. We are suddenly 15 for three and that is a hugely different situation. We have looked at two situations where for me they sort of defined the day.”
The stand-in head coach further lavished praise on fast-bowler Suranga Lakmal who ran riot with the ball, taking 4 for 13 in his 10 overs to bag the Man of the Match award.
“Look, Suranga is a world class bowler. If you give him the conditions that suit him, it doesn’t matter to whom he bowls. He is always going to make life difficult. In his career so far he has had the joy of bowling on flat, dry wickets. You give him some greenery, he will be brilliant. In South Africa at the start of this year, he was superb again. He is a class performer, gutsy individual and great guy to have in the team,” Pothas said.
Pothas also had a word of praise for Angelo Mathews who resumed bowling in the game. The former skipper made an instant impact by dismissing Shikhar Dhawan for a duck and went to bowl five overs for just 8 runs.
“Angelo looked great again. He has got his workload in. The physio has done some great work with him. He is not full capacity yet. Even the way he handled that situation with the bat showed how important he is for us,” he said.
With the 12-match losing streak now coming to an end, Sri Lanka will be eyeing a historic series win when they lock horns against the Men in Blue in the penultimate match on December 13 in Mohali.
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