K L Rahul maintained his upper hand over Shikhar Dhawan in the race for the opener’s slot with a classy knock as India outplayed Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the second T20 International here on Tuesday.
The convincing win gave the hosts an unassailable 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
After reducing an inexperienced Sri Lanka to 142 for nine, Rahul (45 off 32) provided a perfect start, taking India to 54 for no loss in six overs.
Eventually, Virat Kohli (30 not out off 17) and Shreyas Iyer (34 off 26), who batted ahead of the skipper at number three, fired India home in 17.3 overs.
Iyer fell just before India crossed the finishing line as Kohli finished things with a spectacular six over deep fine leg.
The third and final game of the series will be played in Pune on Friday.
Dhawan (32 off 29), returning to action after missing the limited overs series against the West Indies due to injury, was not at his fluent best and could not keep up with Rahul at the other end.
The 27-year-old from Karnataka carried his sublime form against the West Indies into effectively what was the first game of the series, following the washout in Guwahati.
Rahul’s off-side play was a treat to the eye, with five of his six boundaries coming between backward point and mid-off region. His cover drives seemed as effortless the backfoot punches.
Both Dhawan and Rahul are competing for the second opener’s slot.
After the fall of the openers, Kohli and Iyer enthralled the Indore crowd with some clean hitting.
Left-arm pacer Isuru Udana could not bowl a single over due to an injury he suffered just before his team went out to field, and skipper Lasith Malinga admitted the islanders missed his services.
“He’s (Udana) our main bowler and is very experienced in this format. He got injured just before we went out to bowl. He’s recovering now,” Malinga said.
Earlier, a disciplined Indian bowling attack proved too good for the struggling Sri Lankans, reducing the visitors to a below-par total.
On a good batting surface, the inexperienced Sri Lanka batsmen squandered promising starts. Their job was made harder by Navdeep Saini (2/18), Shardul Thakur (3/23) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/38), who shared seven wickets among themselves.
Coming from a three-month injury lay-off, lead pacer Jasprit Bumrah did not look at his best, ending with figures of 32 for one in four overs, the most expensive after Kuldeep.
In a rare occurrence, death overs expert Bumrah conceded three back-to-back boundaries in the 20th over. Kusal Perera top-scored for Sri Lanka with an entertaining 34 off 28 balls.
Both teams went in with the same eleven that was picked for the abandoned series opener.