India secured a spot in the Asia Cup final, defeating Sri Lanka by 41 runs in Colombo. Dunith Wellalage shone with both bat and ball, but India’s spinners and a challenging pitch proved decisive.
In a nail-biting contest at Colombo’s R. Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday, India clinched a hard-fought victory against Sri Lanka, securing their place in the Asia Cup final. Dunith Wellalage emerged as the star of the day, first picking up career-best ODI figures of 5-40 to dismantle India’s batting lineup and then top-scoring with an unbeaten 42. However, his heroics were not enough, as Sri Lanka fell short by 41 runs in a riveting encounter.
The target of 214 was considered under-par, but the challenging pitch with excessive turn and variable bounce made it tricky for both sides. India’s fast bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, took early wickets to put Sri Lanka on the back foot. Dimuth Karunaratne’s dismissal further deepened the hosts’ woes, leaving them at 25/3.
Despite the early setbacks, Sri Lanka fought back with a 43-run partnership between Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka. They displayed solid technique against spin and rotated the strike effectively until Kuldeep Yadav removed both batsmen in successive overs. Ravindra Jadeja then compounded Sri Lanka’s woes by dismissing skipper Dasun Shanaka, leaving the home side reeling at 99/6.
Dhananjaya de Silva, known for his ability to handle tough pitches, partnered with Wellalage to guide Sri Lanka through challenging conditions with a composed 63-run stand. At 162/6, victory seemed within reach for Sri Lanka. However, a lapse in concentration from de Silva saw him lose his wicket to Jadeja, giving India the breakthrough they needed. They swiftly wrapped up the game with Wellalage stranded at the other end.
India’s batting performance earlier in the day was far from their best, with Rohit Sharma’s fluent fifty providing a strong start alongside Shubman Gill. However, Sri Lanka quickly realized the pitch was spin-friendly, and Wellalage led the bowling attack brilliantly. He accounted for Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Hardik Pandya. India struggled to form partnerships, allowing the Lankan spinners to take control of the game.
Dhananjaya de Silva contributed with a frugal spell, and Charith Asalanka’s part-time spin reaped four crucial wickets for the hosts. Maheesh Theekshana claimed the final wicket as India lost all 10 wickets to spin for the first time in their ODI history. Axar Patel’s cameo at the end helped India breach the 200-run mark, proving crucial in the low-scoring encounter.
With this victory, India secures a spot in the Asia Cup final, while Sri Lanka faces a virtual knockout clash against Pakistan for the other spot in the summit clash.
- India: 213 in 49.1 overs (Rohit Sharma 53; Dunith Wellalage 5-40, Charith Asalanka 4-18)
- Sri Lanka: 172 in 41.3 overs (Dunith Wellalage 42*; Kuldeep Yadav 4-43, Jasprit Bumrah 2-30)
- India wins by 41 runs.