Shikhar Dhawan Won Hearts With His Compassionate Speech To Sri Lankan Cricketers
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Shikhar Dhawan Won Hearts With His Compassionate Speech To Sri Lankan Cricketers

Shikhar Dhawan interacts with SL cricketers post India's T20I series defeat
Shikhar Dhawan interacts with SL cricketers post India's T20I series defeat

Shikhar Dhawan won hearts with his compassionate speech to SL cricketers at Colombo on Thursday (July 29) after India was thrashed by Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I.

Shikhar Dhawan-led India was completely outplayed by Dasun Shanaka’s Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I as the hosts won their first-ever series in the shortest format over the Men in Blue. On Thursday (July 29), both sides met for the tour finale as India continued to miss Covid-positive Krunal Pandya and 8 of his close contacts to lose the game by 7 wickets.

Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Twitter)
Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Twitter)

Shikhar Dhawan Fell For A Golden Duck As India Recorded Their 2nd Lowest T20I Score To Lose The Match And Series

Opting to bat first, Shikhar Dhawan-led India got off to a poor start as the captain fell for a golden duck. Birthday boy Wanindu Hasaranga’s 4 for 9 and SL skipper Dasun Shanaka’s brilliant athleticism and 2/20 restricted India’s inexperienced batting line-up for 81/9 in 20 overs.

Wanindu Hasaranga
Wanindu Hasaranga. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

In reply, Dhananjaya de Silva and Wanindu Hasaranga remained unbeaten and guided the home side to a convincing 7-wicket win, with 33 balls to spare, to take the T20Is 2-1 and gain much-needed confidence before the forthcoming T20 World Cup.

Legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga terrorized batters right through his four overs, while Dasun Shanaka picked up two wickets through the early middle overs, and pacer Dushmantha Chameera kept the pressure on with the new ball and at the death, to reduce a severely depleted India batting order to 81 for 8 in their 20 overs.

Against the worst XI India fielded (they were forced to dip into their net-bowling reserves in this game after Navdeep Saini was injured in the last match), Sri Lanka produced perhaps their best bowling and fielding performance of the series. This was a worn, turning, surface, so 81 wasn’t as modest a total as it might read.
Still, Sri Lanka’s batters chased it comfortably, getting home with 33 balls and seven wickets to spare. This was their first T20I series victory since 2019, and their first-ever against India in a bilateral series.

Shikhar Dhawan Interacted With Sri Lankan Cricketers After The Match

After the encounter, opposition captain Shikhar Dhawan took out some time to interact with a young and inexperienced SL camp, who showed a lot of fights throughout the series and shared a heartwarming speech. The 34-year-old Shikhar Dhawan spoke at length on how when one reaches a  certain level, it becomes most difficult to maintain that position. He advised the team to remain humble and never give up.

The way the young Dasun Shanaka-led SL camp is keenly listening to Shikhar Dhawan shows how much they want to learn and are eager to take the currently low-lying Sri Lankan team, across formats, back to the top.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Getty Images)(HT_PRINT)

At the post-match presentation, after India conceded the third T20I to Sri Lanka, Shikhar Dhawan defended his young team and lauded their fighting spirit.

“It was a difficult situation for us. As a team, we decided to stay and play these games. Really proud of the boys as well. They showed great character in the last two games. Their attitude was tremendous. We wanted to win as well, in every game you learn,” he said.

India will, however, take a lot of pride from the fight they showed despite missing the majority of their key players in the last two T20Is post-Krunal Pandya’s Covid-19 Tests.

Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Yuzvendra Chahal, K Gowtham, and Deepak Chahar were the eight players identified as close contacts of Krunal Pandya, who tested positive for Covid-19 and were ruled out from participating in the last two T20Is as a precautionary measure.

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