India captain MS Dhoni feels consistency is key in the run-up to the World T20 after his side trounced Sri Lanka by nine wickets to clinch the three-match series 2-1 in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
Premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged a career-best four for 8 in T20 cricket to help India skittle out the visitors for 82 - Sri Lanka's lowest T20 score - before cantering home in 13.5 overs.
Continuing their winning run after the 3-0 triumph in Australia, India overcame the first loss in Pune to get the better of a depleted Sri Lankan side in the next two games.
“I feel it was a very good game, it was important we restricted them to a decent total. Ashwin was the pick but he was well supported by the others,” said Dhoni.
“In between you will lose one or two games. We want to keep playing the way we're playing. Consistency will give us the confidence. Eight seasons of the IPL (Indian Premier League) has given us the experience.”
It was India's night all the way after Ashwin, who was given the new ball by Dhoni, struck twice in the very first over to remove the Sri Lankan openers.
The Sri Lankan scorecard painted a sorry picture with just Dasun Shanaka (19) and Tisara Perera (12) managing double figures as the rest of the batting collapsed.
Sri Lanka though had a few moments to enjoy after top-scorer Shanaka smashed a couple of sixes during his 24-ball stay, but the visitors suffered from a lack of partnerships.
“We didn't perform well throughout the series as batsmen. If we got 140-plus, we would have had a chance, but we didn't do that. Losing wickets happens with an inexperienced team,” said Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal.
“I'm impressed with our bowlers, (Dasun) Shanaka and (Dushmantha) Chameera. We need to regroup as a team.”
India probably ticked all the boxes after their opening loss in Pune to not only bowl or bat well, but also get their fielding act together in the three-match series.
India's ground fielding was highlighted by Jadeja running out Seekkuge Prasanna with a direct hit on Sunday.
With most of the pressure off their backs, the Indian batsmen did their job to bring up another T20 series' win after their 3-0 triumph in Australia recently.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan, who hit a maiden T20 fifty in the team's last win on Friday, continued his fine run with an unbeaten 46 to help the hosts register their biggest T20 win in terms of balls remaining.
Rohit Sharma was cleaned up by Chameera but that was only a hiccup in India's march towards victory as Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane put on an unbeaten 55-run stand.
Dhawan remained the top-scorer in the series with 106 runs from three games while Ashwin was named the man of the series for his nine wickets.
“I hope this lasts forever,” said Ashwin. “The ball is coming out pretty well. I've been working pretty hard, I want to contribute to the team rather than being a deficiency,” said the lanky off-spinner.
It was Dhoni's first T20 bi-lateral series win on home soil as the World T20 hosts hammered home their status as one of the favourites for the title in March.
Top ranked India thrashed Sri Lanka by nine wickets to win the T20 series 2-1 on Sunday.
Victory was never in doubt for the hosts after Ashwin (4-8) spun out the tourists for their lowest T20 total of 82.
India coasted home for the loss of Rohit in 13.5 overs with Dhawan slamming a sizzling unbeaten 42 and Rahane scoring 22.
Rahane opens his account with a trademark square cut off Chameera. Ind 35-1, 6 overs.
Chameera strikes after being flicked for a boundary by Rohit trapping him leg before. Ind 29-1, 5.2 overs.
Rohit Sharma lbw b Chameera 13 (13b 1x4 1x6)
Dhawan has been picking boundaries easily on the leg side while Rohit launches his assault by coming down the track and hoisting Senanayake for a six. Ind 25-0, 5 overs.
Dhawan sweeps Senanayake as India begin chasing 183.
Sri Lanka innings
Sri Lanka have been skittled for 82 in 18 overs with Ashwin returning figures of 4-1-8.4.
Dilhara Fernando b Bumrah 1 (6b)
Jadeja takes a brilliant catch to send back Thisara. SL 73-9, 15.4 overs.
Thisara Perera c Jadeja b Raina 12 (20b 1x4)
Another poor decision as Senanayake is adjudged caught behind off Raina. SL 72-8, 15.2 overs.
Sachithra Senanayake c Dhoni b Raina 8 (16b)
Thisara punches Pandya through the covers for a boundary. SL 63-7, 12 overs.
Jadeja strikes again as Shanaka tries to open the face of the bat only to be castled off an edge. SL 54-7, 10.3 overs.
Dasun Shanaka b Jadeja 19 (24b 1x4 2x6)
A brilliant direct flick from Jadeja beats a diving Prasanna as nothing seems to go right for Sri Lanka. SL 48-6, 7.5 overs.
Seekkuge Prasanna run out 9 (7b 2x4)
Shanaka latches onto a full toss from Yuvraj to send it sailing into the crowds at midwicket and also thuming the free-hit for a straight six.
Shanaka survives as he gloves Jadeja which kisses Dhoni's gloves and runs to the fence. SL 33-5, 7 overs.
Prasanna pulls Nehra to the square leg fence amid the carnage. SL 29-5, 6 overs.
Nehra strikes as Siriwardana swings and misses with the in-dipper shattering his stumps. SL 21-5, 5.1 overs.
Milinda Siriwardana b Nehra 4 (2b 1x4)
Sri Lanka's innings is in tatters as another one goes down with debut Gunaratne falling to the leg trap though replays suggested it might have been off the pad. SL 20-4, 4.2 overs.
Asela Gunaratne c Raina b Ashwin 4 (12b)
Siriwardana slams Bumrah one bounce into the midwicket fence to break the shackles. SL 20-3, 4 overs.
Sri Lanka seem to be committing hara kiri as Chandimal attempts to loft him without any control of the shot only to give a skier to Pandya. SL 12-3, 2.1 overs.
Dinesh Chandimal c Pandya b Ashwin 8 (9b 2x4)
Chandimal cracks the first boundary of the match slashing a wide ball from Nehra uppishly through point followed by a lofted shot to the fence. SL 12-2, 2 overs.
Terrible start for Lanka as Ashwin strikes twice having Dilshan trapped leg before. SL 3-2, 1 over.
Tillakaratne Dilshan lbw b Ashwin 1 (2b)
Ashwin draws first blood as Dickwell puts on his dancing shoes only to be stumped by a mile. SL 2-1, 0.3 overs.
Niroshan Dickwella st Dhoni b Ashwin 1 (2b)
India have won the toss and elected to bowl in the 3rd T20 international against Sri Lanka at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
Sri Lanka make three changes handing a debut to Asela Gunaratne. Kapugedera is injured while Dilhara Fernando and Dickwella come in.
India are unchanged.
India: RG Sharma, S Dhawan, AM Rahane, SK Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, HH Pandya, RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, JJ Bumrah, A Nehra
Sri Lanka: N Dickwella, TM Dilshan, LD Chandimal, DAS Gunaratne, S Prasanna, TAM Siriwardana, NLTC Perera, MD Shanaka, SMSM Senanayake, CRD Fernando, PVD Chameera
Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera claimed a hat-trick but could not deny India a series-levelling 69-run victory in the second Twenty20 in Ranchi on Friday.
The 26-year-old paceman dismissed Hardik Pandya, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh from successive deliveries before Sri Lanka, chasing 197 to clinch the series with a match to spare, were restricted to 127 for nine.