NAGPUR, India: Kumar Sangakkara smashed a career-best 78 off just 37 balls to set up Sri Lanka’s 29-run win in the first Twenty20 International against India here on Wednesday.
Sangakkara smashed 11 fours and two sixes to help Sri Lanka amass 215-5 before Angelo Mathews and Sanath Jayasuriya picked two wickets each to restrict India to 186-9 in 20 overs at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium.
The Indians were set back by the early dismissal of the explosive Virender Sehwag, caught at deep point off paceman Nuwan Kulasekara (1-36). His 14-ball 26 contained three fours and a six.
The in-form Gautam Gambhir (55) tried to counter-attack, hitting the second fastest Twenty20 half-century, off 19 balls, with the help of 11 fours, but fell while trying to paddle sweep Mathews in the ninth over.
Spurred by the key wicket of Gambhir, the islanders triggered a middle-order collapse to register their first win on the tour after losing the preceding Test series 2-0. Sangakkara earlier played a captain’s knock, putting on 74 runs in 6.1 overs for the second wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan (34) after the visitors were put in to bat.
Sangakkara, 32, hit left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha for two fours and a six to race to his fourth half-century in his 19th Twenty20 International before being run out off the last ball of the innings.
Chamara Kapugedera further boosted the total with a quickfire 47 off 20 balls with seven boundaries and a six. India paid the price for some sloppy fielding with Yuvraj Singh dropping a sitter at point when Jayasuriya (26) was on two, the unlucky bowler being Ishant Sharma.
But Jayasuriya, who slammed Ashish Nehra for five fours in an over, could not make the most of the reprieve, with Ishant taking a fine catch off debutant Ashok Dinda. Dilshan, dropped on 13 by Ishant off his own bowling, combined with Sangakkara to take Sri Lanka to 89-1 after 10 overs before being bowled by a yorker from Rohit Sharma.
India struck again to remove Mahela Jayawardene cheaply for nine but Kapugedera and Sangakkara made light of the setback, unleashing a flurry of hits to the fence to unsettle the Indians.
The second and final Twenty20 match will be played in Mohali on Saturday.
India won toss
NAGPUR: Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara plays a shot as his India counterpart MS Dhoni looks on during their first Twenty20 International here on Wednesday
Sri Lanka innings
T M Dilshan b R Sharma 34
S T Jayasuriya c I Sharma b Dinda 26
*†K C Sangakkara run out (R Sharma/Pathan) 78
D P M D Jayawardene b Pathan 9
C K Kapugedera b Nehra 47
A D Mathews not out 15
Extras (b1, lb3, w2) 6
Total (5 wickets, 20 overs) 215
Did not bat: C U Jayasinghe, M Pushpakumara, K M D N Kulasekara, C R D Fernando, S L Malinga
Fall: 1-43, 2-117, 3-126, 4-195, 5-215
Bowling: Nehra 4-0-52-1 (2w); I Sharma 4-0-22-0; Dinda 3-0-34-1; Pathan 4-0-54-1; Ojha 2-0-27-0; R Sharma 3-0-22-1
G Gambhir b Mathews 55
V Sehwag c Mathews b Kulasekara 26
*†MS Dhoni c Pushpakumara b Jayasuriya 9
Yuvraj Singh c Kulasekara b Mathews 6
R G Sharma run out (Malinga/Sangakkara) 3
S K Raina c Dilshan b Pushpakumara 21
Y K Pathan c Malinga b Jayasuriya 0
A B Dinda b Dilshan 19
A Nehra run out (Fernando) 22
P P Ojha not out 10
I Sharma not out 5
Extras (b2, lb3, w5) 10
Total (9 wickets, 20 overs) 186
Fall: 1-32, 2-93, 3-99, 4-104, 5-105, 6-115, 7-129, 8-167, 9-173
Bowling: Kulasekara 3-0-36-1; Fernando 3-0-26-0 (1w); Malinga 2-0-29-0 (2w); Mathews 4-0-30-2 (1w); Jayasuriya 4-0-19-2 (1w); Pushpakumara 3-0-27-1; Dilshan 1-0-14-1
Result: Sri Lanka won by 29-runs
Series: Sri Lanka lead 2-T20 series 1-0
T20I debuts: AB Dinda and A Nehra (India); C U Jayasinghe and M Pushpakumara (Sri Lanka)
Man of the match: Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)
Umpires: A M Saheba and S K Tarapore. TV umpire: S S Hazare. Match referee: J J Crowe (New Zealand).