Colombo: In a stunning display of spin bowling, Sri Lanka’s Dunith Wellalage and Charith Asalanka ripped through India’s batting line-up and reduced them to 189 for 9 in 43.2 overs in the fourth Super Four match of the Asia Cup 2023 at R.Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday. Wellalage claimed five wickets for 40 runs, while Asalanka took four for 14 as India failed to cope with the turning track and lost their last eight wickets for 69 runs.
India, who won the toss and opted to bat first, got off to a solid start as openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill added 72 runs in 11.4 overs. Sharma was the aggressor, scoring 53 off 48 balls with seven fours and two sixes, while Gill played a supporting role with 19 off 25 balls. However, the introduction of spin changed the complexion of the game as Wellalage struck twice in his first over to remove both the openers.
Virat Kohli, who came in at number three, could not make an impact as he was dismissed for three by Asalanka, who also accounted for Ishan Kishan for 33. Kishan was the only other batsman who showed some resistance, hitting one four and one six in his 61-ball knock. KL Rahul tried to rebuild the innings with a steady 39 off 44 balls, but he too fell prey to Wellalage, who trapped him lbw in the 35th over.
The lower order had no answer to the spin duo of Wellalage and Asalanka, who ran through the tail with ease. Hardik Pandya (5), Ravindra Jadeja (4), Axar Patel (10), Jasprit Bumrah (5) and Kuldeep Yadav (0) all departed cheaply as India collapsed from 120 for 2 to 189 for 9. Mohammed Siraj was left unbeaten on zero as Wellalage ended the innings by bowling Yadav in the 44th over.
For Sri Lanka, Wellalage was the star performer with his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs, while Asalanka registered his best figures of four for 14. The other bowlers were economical but wicketless, with Dhananjaya de Silva being the most frugal with 10 overs for 28 runs.
Sri Lanka will now look to chase down the modest target and register their third consecutive win in the Super Four stage. India, on the other hand, will hope for a miraculous comeback from their bowlers and keep their hopes of reaching the final alive. The match is still in progress and you can follow the live score and updates on NDTV Sports, The Quint, Republic World or Times of India. You can also check the detailed scorecard and statistics on ESPNcricinfo.