Dambulla, Jun 23 (PTI) Jemimah Rodriguez marked her return to the side with a 27-ball 36 and lifted the Indian women's team to 138 for six against a disciplined Sri Lankan bowling attack in the first T20 international here on Thursday.
India's new all-format skipper Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and elected to bat, but it was the Sri Lankans who had a dream start.
India lost opener Smriti Mandhana (1) in the third over of the game, the 25-year-old becoming the victim of veteran spinner Oshadi Ranasinghe while looking to free her arms. She hit a tossed-up delivery straight to Chamari Aththapatu at mid-on.
Sabbhineni Meghana was out for a golden duck, sent back to the dressing room by old warhorse Ranasinghe.
Losing two wickets early and visibly under pressure in the hot and humid Dambulla, it was the duo of Harmanpreet and Shefali Verma, who took control of the precarious situation.
A well-settled Verma was the next to go, dismissed by Aththapatu on 31 while trying to go for a maximum.
Smart bowling by the Lankans ensured that they soon got their biggest breakthrough when skipper Harmanpreet (22) was trapped in front of the wicket by spinner Inoka Ranaweera in the 11th over.
Ranaweera picked two more wickets to send back wicketkeeper batter Richa Ghosh (11) and Pooja Vastrakar (14) to reduce the visitors to just 106 for six in 17 overs and leave Jemimah with the task of giving the Indian total a semblance of respectability.
Coming in at five, Rodriguez, who made her comeback to the side after a while, did not succumb to the pressure and scored some vital runs, hitting three fours and a six, with Deepti Sharma playing the second fiddle as she she scored 17 off 8 balls. PTI SG SG AH