Wellalage, Asalanka run through star-studded India on turning track

Colombo, Sep 12 (PTI) Sri Lankan duo of Dunith Wellalage and part-timer Charith Asalanka spun a web around the Indian batters on a turning track, restricting them to a sub-par 213 in their Asia Cup Super 4 match here on Tuesday.

Left-arm spinner Wellalage (5/40), all of 20, and offie Asalanka (4/18) knifed through the star-studded line-up after India opted to bat.

But before spinners exploited the generous turn and grip on the Premadasa pitch, India started their innings in a blazing fashion.

Rohit Sharma, who made 53 off 48 balls, added 80 runs for the opening wicket with Shubman Gill (19), and that remained the brightest phase of Indian innings.

Watching Rohit and Gill adding those runs in just 12 overs rekindled the memories of India’s blitz against Pakistan on Monday, when they posted a massive 356 for two.

During his innings, the Indian captain also went past a significant personal milestone, becoming the sixth Indian batsmen to score 10000 runs in ODIs.

The landmark came in a befitting fashion too, as Rohit lifted pacer Kasun Rajita over his head for a majestic six.

Other Indian batsmen to reach the mark are: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. Indeed, a magnificent company to be in! However, the introduction of Wellalage changed the whole complexion of the game as the spinner halted Indian batsmen’s charge.

Gill was the first to go. The opener played a forward defence without entirely covering the line and once the ball beat his bat, Gill’s fate was sealed.

Wellalage, a former under-19 captain of his country, then went on to show why he has been spoken so highly in Lankan cricketing circles.

He bowled a straight, quick delivery and Rohit could not bring his bat down on time, as the ball rearranged his timber.

But Wellalage wasn’t finished yet. He added the wickets of Virat Kohli (3), KL Rahul (39), who added 63 runs with Ishan Kishan (33) for the fourth wicket, and Hardik Pandya (5) to his kitty for his maiden five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.

None of the following batsmen also could effectively negate the uneven bounce and turn on the pitch, as Asalanka wreaked havoc.

His delivery to dismiss Ravindra Jadeja would carry a lot of repeat value.

The ball reared from the length, turned and bounced viciously to take an edge of Jadeja’s bat before nestling in stumper Kusal Mendis’ gloves.

Now, the Indian spin troika of Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Jadeja will have to replicate the performance of their Lankan counterparts.

For India, a win against Lanka will assure them a place in the final with four points.

A defeat will not harm India, but they will need a victory against Bangladesh on Friday.

Their current NRR of +4.56, which will dip a bit if they lose this match, too might come handy in the event of an equation tussle with Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

If India will have to split points on Tuesday after a washout, then they will enter the final with three points, awaiting either Lanka or Pakistan in the summit clash.

Source: PTI News


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