Galle, Contrasting half-centuries from Mithali Raj and Taniya Bhatia, followed by a disciplined bowling performance helped India win the second one-day international of their ICC Women’s Championship matches against Sri Lanka by seven runs on Thursday here.
India were bowled out for a seemingly modest 219 in their fifty overs, but a collective bowling effort stopped the hosts just short at 212 in 48.1 overs, helping India gain an unassailable lead in the three-match series and two more points to their Championship tally.
Sri Lanka’s chase got off to a disastrous start, as they slipped to 40/3. Prasadani Weerakkody was the first to depart for just 11 before Nipuni Hansika was run out for a duck. Rajeshwari Gayakwad trapped Dilani Manodara for a 13-ball 3 to spell more trouble for the hosts.
Chamari Athapaththu, the captain, and Shashikala Siriwardene, the former captain, then joined forces for a steadying 89-run stand, even as the Indian bowlers kept the run rate in check. Siriwardene was run out for 49 off 91 balls, and Athapaththu was dismissed soon after by Shikha Pandey for 57 off 95 balls.
Sripali Weerakkody showed intent in her 14-ball stay, striking a six and a four, before getting run out for 17 by Poonam Yadav. Anushka Sanjeewani was dismissed for a 20-ball 17 by Yadav for the score to read 165/7.
Nilakshi de Silva kept Sri Lanka in the hunt, striking two fours and two sixes to give India a proper scare. She was finally dismissed by Mansi Joshi (3/51) in the 48th over for a 19-ball 31, with Bhatia, the wicket-keeper, running back to take a high catch. Bhatia was to finish with two catches and a stumping in all to follow up her excellent batting performance.
At that point, the hosts still needed 13 for victory with just one wicket in the kitty. Deepti Sharma settled the case in the next over, having Inoka Ranaweera stumped for one.
India’s batting was only marginally better. Raj and Bhatia got half-centuries but apart from them, only Dayalan Hemalatha was able to put up a sizeable score.
Weerakkody made the first breakthrough, getting Punam Raut for a 15-ball 3 and Udeshika Prabodhini got rid of the dangerous Smriti Mandhana for a run-a-ball 14 in the sixth over. Weerakkody struck again, catching Harmanpreet Kaur for 7 off her own bowling, reducing India to 36/3.
Raj was patient, adding 30 runs with Deepti Sharma (13) before she got more solid company in Bhatia. The duo added 76 runs off 98 balls for the fifth wicket before the captain fell to Siriwardene for 52 off 121 balls.
Bhatiy’s 66-ball stay was laced with nine boundaries. Having made her debut in the previous match and been unneeded with the willow, this was her first outing with the bat, and it got her 68 runs before she became Prabodhani’s second victim.
Hemalatha, also playing her first innings, scored 35 off 31 deliveries to give the innings late impetus, but the lower-order batters weren’t able to support her.The last over of the innings was an eventful one, with India losing four wickets including a run out. As a result of that chaos, Athapaththu finished with figures of 3/42 in eight overs.
Prabodhani and Weerakkody also took a couple of wickets each as Sri Lanka contained India to a total they would have fancied chasing. It ended up being just out of reach.