IND vs SL 2022-23, 2nd T20I: Meme fest explodes after Arshdeep Singh bowls 5 no balls in forgettable comeback
Team India pacer Arshdeep Singh returned to action after coming back from an injury in the second T20I of the 3-match series against Sri Lanka and had troubles as he bowled five no balls throughout the game.
Indian pacer Arshdeep Singh made his comeback from an injury in the second T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka in Pune on Thursday. The left-arm fast bowler, who was brought in place of Harshal Patel, struggled against the Lankans as he conceded five no balls during the game, sparking massive reactions across social media.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka made a rear-guard unbeaten 56 off 22 balls, while wicket-keeper Kusal Mendis hit a 31-ball 52 to power Sri Lanka to an imposing 206 for 6 against India at the Maharashtra Cricket Stadium.
Electing to bowl, it was a disastrous performance from the Indian bowlers as the Lankan batters went hammer and tongs from the onset.
Barring Axar Patel (2/24 from his 4 overs), all other Indian bowlers went for runs. Even though speedster Umar Malik (3/48) picked up three wickets, he too was taken to the cleaners, while last match hero Shivam Mavi (0/53) looked a pale shadow of himself.
Arshdeep Singh conceded 19 runs in the second over, including three consecutive no balls, giving Sri Lanka a flier after being sent into bat. Brought back to bowl the 19th over, the left-arm bowlers conceded 2 more no-balls.
Skipper Hardik Pandya too went for 11 runs from his second over as Mendis top-edged one over deep third man.
Mavi, who picked up four wickets on his T20 debut in the last match, was also taken to the cleaners by Mendis in his opening over, which yielded 15 runs.
Spin duo of Axar and Yuzvendra Chahal (1/30) gave respite for two overs before Pathum Nisanka (33) struck a four and then a mammoth six over the deep midwicket of Patel to keep up the scoring rate.
Malik was introduced into the attack in the eighth over, but he, too, went for 13 runs from his opening over. India's first breakthrough came in the ninth over when Chahal had Mendis LBW after Hardik went for a successful review.
Sri Lanka suffered their second blow in the first delivery of the next over when Malik beat Bhanuka Rajapaksa by pace to clean his stumps. Despite losing two wickets, Sri Lanka reached a healthy score of 89 at the halfway mark.
But Axar tasted success when he dismissed Nissanka, brilliantly caught by debutant Rahul Tripathy. While Mavi had an off day on one end, Axar snared his second victim of the day in his next over, Dhananjaya de Silva, caught by Deepak Hooda at long-on. But Charith Asalanka (37) looked in an ominous mood as he dispatched Chahal over deep midwicket in consecutive deliveries to keep up Sri Lanka's run rate.
Aslanka then pulled a Malik short delivery over deep midwicket for another six, but three balls later, the pacer had the last laugh as he had the batter caught by Shubman Gill at the same position with a similar delivery in his next over.
Malik knocked the timbers off Wanindu Hasaranga with a pacy delivery a ball later to stand in the chance of a hat-trick. But it was not to be Malik's day as Sri Lanka skipper Shanaka muscled the bowler over his head for a one-bounce four.
To add salt to Malik's wounds, Shanaka top-edged the next ball over fine leg for a six. It was raining fours and sixes after that as Shanaka spared no Indian bowler.
By bowling 5 no-balls, Arshdeep Singh created an unwanted record. He has now become 2nd bowler from a full member nation of ICC, after Hamish Rutherford, to bowl 5 no-balls in a T20I. Arshdeep finished with a spell of 2-0-37-0.
A meme fest exploded on Twitter after Arshdeep bowled the most no balls by India in a men's T20I innings. Here's a look at some of the reactions:
(With inputs from PTI)