After eking out a narrow last-ball win in the opener, India fell short by 16-run defeat as Sri Lanka levelled the three-match series 1-1.
The inconsistency of a young attack was one of the reasons for the defeat but going forward Umran Malik and Shivam Mavi will know that it was great learning experience for them.
They erred in their lines and didn’t always bowl the fuller length, making the Sri Lankan batters job easy to guide the pace of the short pitched stuff.
The Indian bowling unit bled runs with left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh, who returned to the playing XI after a spell of injuries, bowling as many as five no balls in his two overs.
He stepped over the line three times on the trot in his first over, making him the first India bowler to bowl hat-trick of no-balls in T20I.
Mavi, who made a sensational T20I debut in the opening game and Arshdeep Singh added to the no ball count as they too missed the trick with skipper Hardik Pandya, who had to rely on his spinners, lamenting that the team needs to get its basics right.
But the youngsters in the team are expected more chances as they gather valuable experience.
“The young kids will have games like this at times, and I think we all need to be patient with them, (but) we need to be understanding that games like this can’t happen,” head coach Rahul Dravid said.
“I think as they’re learning, it’s tough. It’s not easy learning in international cricket. You have to learn on the job. I think we’re going to have to have a little bit of patience with these guys,” he added.
On the batting front, the top order, once again, failed to provide a solid start. Shubman Gill succumbed to his second successive failure in the series and would be eager to capitalise on the opportunities in hand like Rahul Tripathi, who too perished cheaply in his debut game.
It was the second instance of the top-order collapse in the series.
But despite half the team returning to the dugout under 60 runs, it was heartening to see India still go for chase as Axar Patel and Suryakumar Yadav almost pulled off the impossible.
In Axar, India have found a reliable like for like replacement of Ravindra Jadeja.
The team is expected to give its core more games to form lethal combinations as the team prepares for life beyond Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the shortest format of the game.
India is unlikely to make any changes for the series decider with head coach Dravid asserting “we are not going to be chopping and changing people too much.”
As expected, Sri Lanka have given a solid fight to the hosts. The reigning Asia Cup champions came back strongly to level the series.
However, they would like their middle order to perform better.
Rajkot has is one of the flattest tracks in the country and is expected to be a batting belter.
The toss could thus play an important role as both captains would like to chase.
India: Hardik Pandya (C), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (C), Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Maheesh Theekshana, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan, Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Thushara