Record-setting Shanaka helps SL level series against India



Dasun Shanaka led from the front with a record half-century and two wickets in Sri Lanka’s series-levelling 16-run win over India in the second Twenty20 international on Thursday.

Shanaka hit an unbeaten 56 off 22 balls laced with two fours and six sixes to steer Sri Lanka to 206-6 after being invited to bat first in Pune.

Bowlers led by Kasun Rajitha kept down India to 190-8 despite a threatening 91-run sixth-wicket stand between Suryakumar Yadav (51) and Axar Patel (65).

Captain Shanaka turned up with his medium-pace bowling for the 20th over to send back Axar and Shivam Mavi, who hit 26 off 15 balls, and take the series into the decider on Saturday in Rajkot.

“They took the game away from us but still we managed to hold our nerve,” said Shanaka, who was named man of the match for his all-round show.

“Really good to defend the total, especially against India in these conditions.”

Shanaka’s batting set up victory as he tore into the Indian attack with his fifty off 20 balls the fastest by a Sri Lankan batsman in the T20 format.

He beat two stalwarts of Sri Lankan cricket, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, both of whom got fifties in 21 balls.

Shanaka raised his fifty with a six and put on an unbeaten 68-run stand with Chamika Karunaratne.

Kusal Mendis, who hit 52 off 31 balls, put together 80 runs with opening partner Pathum Nissanka, who made 33, to lay the foundations for the winning total.

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