India clinch ODI series on back of Renuka Singh Thakur’s early strikes

India thumped Sri Lanka by 10 wickets © Getty Images

India put on their most clinical display of the series so far as they clinched the ODI series against Sri Lanka with a match to spare after winning the second ODI by a thumping 10-wicket margin in Pallekele on Monday (July 4).

Renuka swings it big

Renuka Singh Thakur was extremely impressive with the new ball in the T20I series without having the rewards in the wickets column to show for it. That has not been the case in the ODI series though as her hooping inswing has proved too much for Sri Lanka’s top order.

Thakur struck a big blow early for the second match in succession as she dismissed Hasini Perera for a four-ball duck in the first over after getting the ball to come in appreciably. Vishmi Gunaratne was handed her ODI cap by Chamari Athapaththu but her debut did not have much to write home about as she was the next batter to fall for just three after she attempted to step out of the crease and hoick across the line against Thakur, only to find her timber rattled.

Harshitha Madavi was also dismissed for a three-ball duck as Thakur picked as many as three wickets in her first four overs. Gunaratne’s debut meant that captain Chamari Athapaththu moved herself down to number three in the batting order.

ALSO READ: Gunaratne has got the stones rolling for Sri Lanka

Meghna Singh was equally impressive with the new ball and she repeatedly tested Athapaththu’s outside edge by getting the ball to swing both ways. Athapaththu was regularly beaten on the outside edge and India thought they had seen her back when she edged a delivery to Deepti Sharma at slip, who took a stunning one-handed catch moving to her left but the third umpire ruled it to be a bump ball.

Meghna finally got Athapaththu with one of her more innocuous deliveries as Athapaththu found Shafali Verma at fine leg with a poor ball on her pads to fall for 27 after getting set at the crease.

Yastika’s quick thinking

A regular wicketkeeper for Baroda at the domestic level, Yastika Bhatia is now India’s first-choice wicketkeeper in ODIs and she proved that decision to be a wise one by running the hardworking Anushka Sanjeewani out for 25 with some quick thinking and a flick on to the stumps after the batter stepped out of her crease but failed to ground her bat on the way back.

Sri Lanka continued to be shoddy as the dangerous Kavisha Dilhari was also run out for five after her call for a quick single was turned down by Nilakshi de Silva.

Dilhari’s dismissal left Sri Lanka in disarray at 81-6. The fact that they could get to 173 was down to Ama Kanchana’s spirited and dogged knock of an unbeaten 47* after walking out to bat at number eight.

Thakur improved on her career-best for the fourth match in a row to finish with 4-28, while Deepti struck off the last two balls of the innings to finish with 2-30.

ALSO READ: What we learnt about India’s T20I side from the Sri Lanka series

Smriti-Shafali feast on sloppy Sri Lanka

India were clinical and ruthless in the chase as Smriti Mandhana and Shafali put on India’s highest partnership for any wicket against Sri Lanka.

This was also the first hundred run partnership between the Indian duo in ODIs. Both the Indian openers had been guilty of frittering away promising starts in the series before today but they made the most of the opportunities that a poor Sri Lankan outfit missed in the field. The left-right combination put on 174 with minimal fuss, the second-highest partnership against Sri Lanka in ODIs.

Mandhana fell narrowly short of a ton as she ended with 94* from just 83 balls, while Shafali remained unbeaten on a run-a-ball 71*, notching her new career-best in ODIs.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 173/10 in 50 overs (Ama Kanchana 47; Renuka Singh Thakur 4/28, Deepti Sharma 3/25) lost to India 174/0 in 25.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 94*, Shafali Verma 71*) by ten wickets POTM: Renuka Singh Thakur