India faced Sri Lanka in their second game of the super four stage of Asia Cup 2023 as both teams looked to secure their passage to the final. Indians had to be sharp after playing against Pakistan over a two day stint. The hosts Sri Lanka would also fancy their chances to retain the championship after winning the latest version of the tournament.
India made only one change to the team that had to play for the third consecutive day due to inclement weather. Axar Patel replaced Shardul Thakur to add batting strength to the team. Sri Lanka fielded an unchanged eleven from their hard fought win against Bangladesh.
1. Rohit Sharma (Cap.) 2. Shubman Gill 3. Virat Kohli 4. KL Rahul 5. Ishan Kishan (WK) 6. Hardik Pandya 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Axar Patel 9. Jasprit Bumrah 10. Kuldeep Yadav 11. Mohammed Siraj
1. Pathum Nissanka 2. Dimuth Karunaratne 3. Kushal Mendis (WK) 4. Sadeera Samarawickrama 5. Charith Asalanka 6. Dhananjaya de Silva 7. Dasun Shanaka (Cap.) 8. Dunith Wellelage 9. Maheesh Theekshana 10. Kasun Rajitha 11. Matheesha Pathirana
Indian captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bat first to provide four hours of extra rest for his bowlers.
Captaincy & Tactics
Indian tactics were clear from the offset, they wanted to attack the opening bowlers just like the last game. Sharma and Gill again shone in the powerplay but things went downhill from that point on. Shanaka deserves credit for his proper utilization of bowlers throughout the innings to restrict India to a chasable score.
Rohit Sharma struck gold with his decision to store Hardik Pandya’s overs. The all-rounder has been shining regularly with the new ball, but his introduction was delayed till the last phase of the innings. The dual act of Jadeja and Pandya worked in tandem to stifle the run chase and the Lankans eventually succumbed to the pressure.
This game also followed the regular script of Indian openers dominating the opposition attack. They accumulated 80 runs from 11 overs before Gill departed from a brillant delivery by Wellalage. Rohit Sharma became the 2nd fastest batsman (241 innings) to reach the milestone of 10,000 runs.
Virat Kohli was not his regular self and got out cheaply after scoring only 3 runs. Kishan and Rahul formed a partnership of 63 runs to steady the ship. But the tendency to attack without proper patience led to their demise. No batsman except Axar Patel were able to provide resistance with the bat. India ended up scoring 213 all out by losing all of their wickets to spin bowling.
Sri Lanka was put under pressure straight away by the Indian quicks. After the departure of the openers, Kusal Mendis looked solid and was hitting boundaries for fun. Then came the Indian spinning masterclass to edge Sri Lanka almost out of the game. Both Asalanka and Samarawickrama started promisingly but soon met their demise. Dhananjaya and Wellalage tried their best to salvage some hopes but the Indian bowling was too much for Lankans to handle.
The day belonged to the spinners as Wellage picked his first five-for of his career. The 20 year old from Colombo was not afraid to give some flight and it paid dividends. Charith Asalanka was the surprise package of the game by picking up four scalps as a part time bowler. The off spinner still averaging 82.00 in ODI cricket is the proof that it was a fluke.
After losing all of their wickets to Sri Lankan spinners, the Indian pace bowlers were fired up and delivered in the time of need. Bumrah looked refreshed and was rapid and accurate with his line and length.
But the game changer once again was Kuldeep Yadav. Another four wicket haul makes him the prime candidate for leading the spinning attack in the World Cup. Ravindra Jadeja supported him with his whole repertoire of silders, quickers and arm balls. He is a match winner and the fact that the left-armer averages 25.18 in matches that India won emphasizes that once again.
The fielding of both teams were impressive. Sri Lankans caught everything that came their way including two brilliant grabs by the keeper Mendis.
Asalanka was dropped at 18 by Kishan but it did not prove to be costly. Substitute Suryakumar Yadav dived brilliantly to dismiss Theekshana to seal the Indian victory.
It was a game of great personal achievement yet an occasion of great despair for young Dunith Wellalage. The precocious talent did everything within his limit with four wickets and 41 runs but ended up on the losing side. Asalanka will also remember the day fondly for taking a rare four wicket haul. Rohit Sharma was the top scorer with 53.
Kuldeep Yadav has picked up nine wickets in the last couple of games and Indian pace bowlers set the stage for them. Bumrah is slowly getting back to his shape and Jadeja also displayed his effectiveness with brilliant tight bowling.
After the initial onslaught by the Indian bowlers, the duo of Dhananjaya and Wellalage kept the Lankans in the game. Rohit Sharma summoned Jadeja to conjure something with his spin. The left arm spinner responded to his captain’s bidding in a spectacular fashion as he tossed one up to lure the batsman. De Silva obliged and chipped the ball towards long-on. The 63 run partnership was finally broken and took India back firmly in the game.
India maneuvered a spirited comeback to beat Sri Lanka by 41 runs.
Player of the Match
Dunith Wellalage was awarded the man of the match for his fifer and brilliant knock albeit in a losing cause.
|Total: 213/10 (49.1 overs)||Total: 172/10 (41.3)|
|Rohit Sharma 53 (48)||Dunith Wellalage 42* (46)|
|KL Rahul 39 (44)||Dhananjaya de Silva 41 (66)|
|Dunith Wellalage 5/40||Kuldeep Yadav 4/43|
|Charith Asalanka 4/18||Jasprit Wrap-Up2/30|
After a memorable bowling performance of the spinners, Sri Lankan fans were dreaming of a remarkable win against Team India. But the visitors flexed their bowling muscles to win the match by 41 runs. India showed strength of character and stamina to record victories in consecutive days. The men in blue have virtually secured their spot in the final as Pakistan and Sri Lanka will vie each other on the 14th for the other berth.