India vs Sri Lanka: Kuldeep Yadav stars as India defend 213 and storm into Asia Cup 2023 final

by The Technical Blogs


Twenty-four hours after an emphatic victory over Pakistan, India defeated Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday, September 12, to book a berth in the final of the 2023 Asia Cup.

Kuldeep Yadav was once again India’s star with the ball – he had taken a five-wicket haul against Pakistan on Monday and followed it up with 4 for 43 against Sri Lanka while Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja picked two wickets each, scripting a 41-run victory for India. This defeat also ended Sri Lanka’s streak of 13 successive victories in one-day internationals.

Asia Cup 2023: Points Table

Dunith Wellalage’s all-round efforts went in vain. The 20-year-old picked 5 for 40 before keeping Sri Lanka in the hunt with an unbeaten 42 off 46 balls before he ran out of batting partners.

India battled a hectic schedule to win their second successive Super 4 match in the Asia Cup. India started their match against Pakistan but on Sunday, but rain ruled out any play after 24.1 overs. The two teams then returned to the field on Monday, the Reserve Day as Virat Kohli and KL Rahul hit stunning hundreds to first set 356 for 2 in 50 overs before Kuldeep Yadav starred with a five-wicket haul to help India script a 228-run win.

India Pacers, Kuldeep Shine

While India lost all their 10 wickets to spinners for the first time in one-day internationals, India’s charge towards victory was started by two early wickets from Jasprit Bumrah and another by Mohammed Siraj as Sri Lanka collapsed to 25 for 3 in the 8th over. Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis were both sent back by Bumrah to give India a strong start to their defence of 214 while Siraj removed Dimuth Karunaratne – Sri Lanka’s top-order was completely dismantled by quality pace and the onus was now on Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka, who recorded his career-best ODI bowling figures earlier in the evening.

The Sri Lankan run-chase had derailed after the rapid strikes by India’s pacers but Samarawickrama and Asalanka steadied the innings with a composed partnership. They never had to face the pressure of a soaring run-rate and the pair was impressive against a potent Indian bowling attack, adding 43 for the fourth wicket. It was left to Kuldeep Yadav, India’s highest wicket-taker in ODIs this year and the man who destroyed the Pakistani batting line-up Monday evening with a five-wicket haul, to dismiss Samarawickrama and Asalanka in back-to-back overs. And when Ravindra Jadeja snared Dasun Shanaka, the writing was almost on the wall for Sri Lanka, who were reeling at 99 for 6.

But Dhananjaya de Silva and Dunith Wellalage were not ready to give up yet. Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja had weaved a web around Sri Lanka and it would have needed a special effort to start a fightback. Dhananjaya de Silva has played a few important knocks for Sri Lanka in crunch times but it was the emergence of Dunith Wellalage as an all-rounder that would have really pleased the team. Hours after a five-wicket haul including the big wickets of Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya, he stitched a partnership for the ages for Sri Lanka.

While Dhananjaya de Silva held one end up with a solid display of defensive cricket, quick running between the wickets and the ability to exploit the gaps in the field, Dunith Wellalage showed a maturity that defied his age. All of 20, Dunith Wellalage smashed Kuldeep Yadav for a six, ducked an accurate bouncer from Jasprit Bumrah and hit Ravindra Jadeja for a boundary during a 63-run stand with de Silva. Thanks to that stand, Sri Lanka came within 52 runs of the target when Ravindra Jadeja picked his second wicket to send back de Silva.

IND vs SL, Super 4: Highlights

The game had now turned into a proper thriller. Sri Lanka needed 52 runs from 12 overs and only three wickets in hand. India did not have to go to Axar Patel whose five ineffective overs had cost 29 runs. Maheesh Theekshana is not completely without talent as a batsman but he could not do much in a tense chase; he scored 2 off 14 balls and was sent on his way to the pavillion after Suryakumar Yadav took a sharp catch of the bowling of Hardik Pandya. This put the limelight firmly on Dunith Wellalage, who had already done enough to be hailed a hero for the night. Kuldeep Yadav was brought back for his final over and he struck immediately to dismiss Kasun Rajitha and Matheesha Pathirana to seal victory for India and get to a personal milestone of 150 wickets.

On Tuesday, India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and decided to bat on a pitch which would see the Sri Lankan spinners thrive. Rohit and Shubman Gill have had some memorable opening partnerships already and they continued their stunning run in Colombo. The pair added 80 for the first wicket before Shubman Gill fell to Dunith Wellalage, who would go on to pick five wickets.

Unplayable Wellalage

Dunith Wellalage was virtually unplayable in his opening spell as he went on to add the wickets of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. India slipped to 91 for 3 in the 16th over from 80 for no loss after 11 overs. Kohli would be particularly disappointed with the way he was once again outfoxed by a left-arm spinner – he tried to hit a short of a length delivery on the leg side but all he managed to do was offer a catch to Dasun Shanaka at short midwicket.

Rohit Sharma had raced away to his third successive half-century in the 2023 Asia Cup and looked like the man who would anchor the innings for India on a tricky pitch. The India captain has played some stunning knocks on difficult surfaces but it wasn’t to be on Tuesday. Wellalage extracted sharp turn and Rohit was totally beaten and the ball disturbed his leg-stump.

Ishan Kishan, who had scored four successive half-centuries in ODIs before this game, walked in ahead of KL Rahul to counter the left-arm spin threat of Wellalage and he settled in nicely. Rahul carried on from where he left off against Pakistan – his sensational hundred on return to international cricket left no one in any doubt he was fit to take on any responsibilities in the side. As the Sri Lankan spinners went about their business with a lot of discipline, Rahul and Ishan showed the determination to play with solid defence and a skillful tendency to rotate the strike.

Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul added 63 for the fourth wicket to steer India out of a spot of bother. However, Wellalage was unstoppable on Tuesday and he ended a dangerous partnership by removing Rahul whose simple return catch was accepted gleefully.

Charith Asalanka’s part-time spin then troubled India further – he picked four wickets including the crucial ones of Ishan Kishan and Ravindra Jadeja. Dunith Wellalage completed a perfect spell when he dismissed Hardik Pandya with his final delivery of his 10th over to finish with figures of 5 for 40.

Charith Asalanka ripped through the Indian lower-order with 4 for 18 off 9 overs before Maheesh Theekshana dismissed Axar Patel to bowl India out for 213.

Pakistan’s last Super 4 match against Sri Lanka on September 14 is now a virtual semifinal as the winner will join India in the tile clash. India’s game against Bangladesh will have no significance and that could prompt Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid to try out a couple of reserve players to test the bench strength.

Edited By:

Kingshuk Kusari

Published On:

Sep 12, 2023


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