Ashwin seals series for India
India today thrashed Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the deciding third and final Twenty20 International to pocket the series 2-1, here on Sunday.
Chasing a paltry total of 82 runs, India cruised to the target in 13.5 overs. They lost only one wicket in the process and reached the target with 37 balls remaining.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bamboozled the Sri Lankan batsmen in a mesmerising opening spell as India bundled out the visitors for a paltry 82 in the series deciding third and final Twenty20 International cricket match.
Ashwin, who opened the attack for India, took four wickets in a magical three-over opening spell to break the back of the Sri Lankan batting order. The off-spinner was simply unplayable for the Lankans as he returned with exceptional figures of 4-1-8-4, his career best figures in T20 cricket.
Sri Lanka could not even bat full 20 overs and were all out for their lowest total in Twenty20 cricket in 18 overs. Suresh Raina also shone on a helpful ACA-VDCA stadium pitch by scalping two batsmen and giving away just six runs in his two overs. After opting to field, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni handed out the new ball to Ashwin and he responded with two wickets in the first over of the match.
Ashwin had Niroshan Dickwella (1) stumped when the batsman charged down the track but was was completely beaten and the Indian captain had an easy stumping to do.
In the last ball of the over, Ashwin trapped Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) and when he retuned for his second over, he had Dinesh Chandimal caught by Hardik Pandya as the rival skipper tried to cut loose but miscued a shot. Sri Lankan innings was in complete shambles losing the first three wickets with only 12 runs on the board. In his third over, Ashwin got rid of debutant Asela Gunaratne and soon the Lankans were gasping at 21 for five with left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra taking the fifth wicket.
Such was the dominance of the Indian bowlers that only six shots to the fence were played in seven overs. It was only in the eighth over that Sri Lanka found two sixes through Dasun Shanaka (19), who whacked Yuvraj Singh twice. However Shanaka lost his partner Prasanna in the same over through a run out, which was result of excellent field work by Ravindra Jadeja and Sri Lanka were tottering at 48 for six. At half-way mark, the visitors had managed to put on board only 54 runs.
The wicket was assisting spinners and Dhoni had no hesitation in giving the ball to Jadeja and Raina. Soon Jadeja sent back Shanaka (19) by going through his defence.
Ashwin returned for his final over but could not add any wicket to his tally but Raina scalped Sachitra Senanayke (8) and Thisara Perera (12) in a space of three balls. Bumrah folded the innings by castling Dilhara Fernando (1) in the last ball of the 18th over.
Under hardly any pressure, India walked away to their target with 37 balls remaining even though the turning pitch made stroke-play difficult.
Shikhar Dhawan again displayed his improved leg-side play in his run-a-ball 46 whereas question marks over Ajinkya Rahane’s hitting ability on slower surfaces remained as he mis-hit a few attempted big hits in his unbeaten 24 off 22.
“I feel it was a very good game, important we restricted them to a decent total. Ashwin was the pick but he was well supported by the others. 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,” said skipper MS Dhoni after the win.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella st Dhoni b Ashwin 1, Tillakaratne Dilshan lbw b Ashwin 1, Dinesh Chandimal c Pandya b Ashwin 8, Asela Gunaratne c Raina b Ashwin 4, Milinda Siriwardana b Nehra 4, Dasun Shanaka b Jadeja 19, Seekkuge Prasanna run out 9, Thisara Perera c Jadeja b Raina 12, Sachitra Senanayake c Dhoni b Raina 8, Dushmantha Chameera n.o. 9, Dilhara Fernando b Bumrah 1; Extras: (LB-2, W-3, NB-1) 6; Total: 82 (in 18 overs); Wickets: 1-2, 2-3, 3-12, 4-20, 5-21, 6-48, 7-54, 8-72, 9-73; Bowling: R Ashwin 4-1-8-4, Ashish Nehra 2-0-17-1, Jasprit Bumrah 3-0-10-1, Ravindra Jadeja 4-1-11-1, Yuvraj Singh 1-0-15-0, Hardik Pandya 2-0-13-0, Suresh Raina 2-0-6-2.
India: Rohit Sharma lbw b Chameera 13, Shikhar Dhawan not out 46, Ajinkya Rahane not out 22; Extras: (LB-3) 3; Total: (1 wicket; 13.5 overs) 84; Wicket: 1-29; Bowling: Senanayake 4-0-22-0, Fernando 2-0-7-0, Chameera 2-0-14-1, Prasanna 1-0-3-0, Siriwardana 1-0-9-0, Gunaratne 2.5-0-22-0, Dilshan 1-0-4-0.