Disciplined bowlers and handy Pandey knock seal India whitewash
Manish Pandey made an invaluable 32 as India completed a series whitewash with a hard-fought five-wicket win in Sunday's final Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
The tourists had struggled with the bat in the first two contests and it was a familiar theme here as Jaydev Unadkat (2-15) and Hardik Pandya (2-25) restricted Sri Lanka to 135-7.
India themselves struggled to score freely on a pitch offering plenty of bounce and encouragement to the bowlers, but Pandey made 32 off 29 and, although he failed to see India home, it was a contribution that proved crucial.
For Sri Lanka, Niroshan Dickweller (1) chipped Unadkat straight to mid-on and the same bowler tempted Upul Tharanga (11) to hole out to deep square leg, after Kusal Perera (4) was caught and bowled by Washington Sundar.
Wow what a finish! @DineshKarthik (18*) and @msdhoni (16*) guide India to a thrilling five wicket victory with four balls remaining to secure the T20I series 3-0!— ICC (@ICC) December 24, 2017
Scorecard: https://t.co/BrSId8ACRP #INDvSL pic.twitter.com/i3JqNN5U0o
Sadeera Samarawickrama (21) and Asela Gunaratne (36) added 38 for the fourth wicket, but the former punched one off Pandya to a back-tracking Dinesh Karthik at mid-off before Pandya showed good hands to hold onto Danushka Gunathilaka's strong hit on the boundary (3) and Thisara Perera added just 11.
Pandya accounted for dangerman Gunaratne, and Dasun Shanaka added an unbeaten 29 to what looked an easily attainable total.
But a difficult pitch offering plenty of bounce saw Sri Lanka snare Lokesh Rahul (4) early, and Rohit Sharma (27) – who equalled the fastest T20 century in match two – holed one to deep square leg off Shanaka.
Shreyas Iyer (30) scored at less than a run a ball, but ended a six-over wait for a boundary with a huge maximum over long-off before losing his wicket in unfortunate circumstances, standing outside the crease at the non-strikers end when Pandey smashed one into the stumps.
Pandey smacked three balls to the ropes in the space of five deliveries, though, to boost India and stem Sri Lanka's hopes.
He missed a straight one from Dushmantha Chameera in the 17th over to make it a tricky ending for the hosts, but MS Dhoni (16 not out) and Karthik (18no) – who crunched a mammoth six off a Nuwan Pradeep full toss with seven balls remaining – saw India home with five wickets and just four balls remaining.