India survives Wellalage’s all-around superiority to reach Asia Cup final

In a thrilling Asia Cup match on Tuesday in Colombo, India overcame a spirited Sri Lanka to seal a spot in the final. Dunith Wellalage top-scored with 42 not out after recording his career-best ODI statistics of 5-40 earlier in the day to disrupt India’s batting. Despite his efforts, though, Sri Lanka lost by 41 runs. (12 September). India will now be guaranteed a spot in the championship game, while Sri Lanka will play Pakistan in a virtual elimination match for the other top match spot.

Although the total of 214 was obviously inadequate, the playing surface wasn’t the best. Before that, the new ball was a challenge in low light because of its excessive spin and inconsistent bounce. That was fully utilized by Jasprit Bumrah in order to cheaply dismiss Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis. India needed a strong start after a poor batting performance, and they got it. The experienced Dimuth Karunaratne was then withdrawn by Mohammed Siraj, leaving Sri Lanka in peril at 25/3.

A 43-run stand between Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka allowed Sri Lanka to fight back after the stage was set for India’s spinners to take control. Until Kuldeep Yadav removed both batters in consecutive overs, they were smart in their approach against spin and rotated the strike well. The balance had swung back in India’s favor, and Ravindra Jadeja made matters worse for the visitors by eliminating captain Dasun Shanaka. Now that the score was 99/6, the goal of 214 suddenly felt very far away.

Dhananjaya de Silva has been Sri Lanka’s go-to player in crunch situations since the World Cup qualifications, and he got to work once more. Wellalage, who demonstrated exceptional composure under severe circumstances, provided him with capable assistance. The left-hander held his own and, along with de Silva, led the Lankans through difficult seas with a cool 63-run partnership. He was evidently encouraged by his early bowling success. With both batters set and Sri Lanka down by 162 runs, it was their game to lose, but de Silva’s mental slip-up caused him to hole out to Jadeja at mid-on. With Wellalage stranded at the opposite end, India took advantage of the perfect opening to quickly win the match.

India, who had not been at their best with the bat earlier in the day, battled hard to win. They got off to a fast start because of Rohit Sharma’s fluid fifty and Shubman Gill, but it didn’t take the Lankans long to realize this pitch was very spin-friendly. Wellalage stood out among the bowlers, and Shanaka attempted to incorporate as much spin as he could into the attack. He removed Gill with a peach from his very first over and also had a wicket in the form of Hardik Pandya off his very final ball of the day.

As India lost the battle against spin, he fired Virat Kohli and KL Rahul in the interim, leaving only a well-positioned Rohit. While Rahul (33 off 61) appeared the most at ease after Rohit and Ishan Kishan (33 off 61) had a very shaky time at the crease, Sri Lanka never let partnerships grow beyond the initial 80-run stand. The Indian hitters appeared disorganized and lacked initiative, which helped the street-smart Sri Lankan spinners dominate the match.

The hosts took advantage of the favorable circumstances, and Dhananjaya de Silva contributed with a very economical spell. Charith Asalanka, a part-time spinner, also contributed by taking four wickets. India lost all 10 of their wickets to spin for the first time in their ODI history, with Maheesh Theekshana taking the final wicket to go. Axar Patel’s cameo at the end of the game was crucial since it allowed India to surpass the 200-run threshold. These minor margins were crucial in the context of the final outcome of a game with poor scoring on a challenging surface.

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