India beat Sri Lanka by 41 runs in the fourth Super 4 match of Asia Cup 2023 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday, September 12. Batting first after winning the toss, Team India were bowled out for 213 in 49.1 overs as Wellalage and part-time off-spinner Charith Asalanka (4/18) spun a web around India’s batters.
Sri Lanka, however, crumbled in the chase in the face of some impressive bowling from India. They were 99/6 at one point of time before a seventh-wicket stand of 63 between Wellalage and Dhananjaya de Silva (41 off 66) brought them back in the game. The Lankans, however, fell well short in the end, as they were bowled out for 172 in 41.3 overs. Left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav stood out with 4/43, while Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja claimed two scalps each.
Batting first, India’s openers got off to a great start adding 80 runs for the first wicket. Rohit Sharma (53 off 48) struck an impressive fifty, also becoming the second fastest batter to reach 10000 ODI runs after Virat Kohli. Wellalage, however, set India back. He bowled Shubman Gill (19) and Rohit, while also dismissing Kohli (3) in between.
KL Rahul (39 off 44) and Ishan Kishan (33 off 61) added 63 for the fourth wicket, but Wellalage broke the stand by having Rahul caught at bowled. The left-arm spinner also took a good catch off Asalanka’s bowling to end Kishan’s stay at the crease. Wellalage completed a five-for by dismissing Hardik Pandya for 5. Asalanka then claimed three quick scalps, but Axar Patel’s defiant 26 took India to 213.
Sri Lanka were poor in the chase, barring the partnership between Wellalage and Dhananjaya de Silva. Pathum Nissanka poked at one from Bumrah and was caught behind for 6. The pacer also ended Kusal Mendis’ stay for 15 with a slower ball. Dimuth Karunaratne (2) slashed at one from Mohammed Siraj and was caught at slip.
Kuldeep joined the action by having Sadeera Samarawickrama (17) stumped and Asalanka (22) was caught by the keeper off a miscued sweep. Rohit then took a wonderful catch at slip off Jadeja to dismiss his opposite number Dasun Shanaka for 9.
Wellalage and Dhananjaya de Silva offered resistance, but once the latter was caught at mid-on trying to take on Jadeja, the match swung in India’s favor. Substitute fielder Suryakumar Yadav took a smart catch to dismiss Maheesh Theekshana (2) off Pandya’s bowling. Kuldeep then knocked over Kasun Rajitha (1) and Matheesha Pathirana (0) to ensure India a place in the Asia Cup 2023 final.
--By A Cricket Correspondent