By BV Swagath
Swing bowler Irfan Pathan claimed superb figures of 5/25 in 4 overs as India defeated hosts Sri Lanka by a convincing margin of 26 runs in a warm-up T20 at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.
Batting first after winning the toss, India struggled to get going at 51 for 4 in 8.3 overs but a terrific partnership of 78 between Rohit Sharma and Skipper MS Dhoni brought some life to the innings. Rohit Sharma scored 37 from 26 balls with 4 fours and a six. Dhoni did a brilliant finishing job with an unbeaten 55 from 42 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes. India as a result posted 146 for 5 in the allotted 20 overs.
Lasith Malinga was taken to the cleaners by Dhoni as the speedster went for 50 runs off his 4 overs! Earlier, opener Gautam Gambhir had to retire hurt after sustaining a blow on his hand off a Lasith Malinga delivery.
The Sri Lankans in their run chase were rocked back at 45 for 3 in the 6th over. The middle overs saw Sri Lanka lose wickets at regular intervals to collapse from 74 for 3 in the 12th over to 120 all out in 19.3 overs. While Pathan took a fifer, L Balaji came up with 3 for 28 in 3.3 overs. Off spinners R Ashwin with 4-0-20-0 and Harbhajan Singh with 4-0-17-1 bowled on a tight leash. India’s next warm-up match is against Pakistan on the 17th.