Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck a timely half-century while Irfan Pathan picked up five wickets to steer India to a 26-run win over Sri Lanka in their first warm-up game for the World Twenty20 beginning Sep 18.
Dhoni smashed 55 off 42 balls to take India to a respectable 146 for five after they lost their first four wickets for 51 runs at the P. Sara Oval here Saturday. Pathan (5-25) then delivered with the ball alongside fellow speedster Laxmipathy Balaji (3-28), restricting the hosts to 120 in 19.3 overs.
Kumar Sangakkara (32) was the top-scorer for Sri Lanka, who failed to put up that one big partnership required in the run-chase.
The Indian bowlers maintained pressure on the opposition batsmen from the word go, removing openers Dilshan Munnaweera (3) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) by the third over.
The likes of Aneglo Mathhews (16), Lahiru Thirimanne (24) and Jeevan Mendis (26) could not convert their starts to a substantial knock, proving to be the difference in the game.
Besides Pathan and Balaji, Indian off-spinner Harbhajan did well to bowl his four overs for 17 runs and an important wicket of Sangakkara.
Earlier, Dhoni and Rohit Sharma (37) came good with the bat, forging a 78-run stand off 64 balls.
India play their second and final warm-up match Monday when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan. Their World T20 opener is against Afghanistan Sep 19.