Ashwin spins India to series victory over Sri Lanka


India, who became the top-ranked team in Twenty20 internationals after whitewashing Australia 3-0 at Down Under last month, held on to their numero uno status with 2-1 series victory over Sri Lanka. India defeated Sri Lanka in the third and final match by nine wickets at ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

Chasing a modest 83-run target, in-form Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma started off Indian innings confidently, with the southpaw opening India’s account by hammering Senanayake for four at backward square leg. The pair added 29 for the opening stand before the bowling change gave Sri Lanka their first breakthrough. Dushmantha Chameera trapped Rohit (13) in front in the 6th over.

None of the Sri Lankan bowlers posed any threat whatsoever as Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane shared an unbeaten 55-run stand to canter India to an easy win. Dhawan, who scored his maiden T20I fifty in the second match, made an unbeaten 46 in as many deliveries with the help of five fours and a six while Rahane hit a single boundary in his 22-run knock.

There were not many boundaries in the Indian innings but Dhawan finished off the match with a six and four off debutant Asela Gunaratne in the 14th over.

India came to the third match on the back of the series-levelling victory in Ranchi after suffering an embarrassing defeat in the opening match in Pune. The series has also served home team as a warm-up tournament for World Twenty20 scheduled to be held in March in India. The Men-in-Blue will now head to Bangladesh for Asia Cup T20 where they will play the hosts on February 24 in the tournament-opener in Mirpur.

Earlier, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin produced the best bowling figures (4/8) by an Indian in the shortest format of the game to help his side bundle out Sri Lanka for 82. Sri Lankan innings lasted just 18 overs.

Ashwin was adjudged man of the match and man of the series for his stupendous efforts as he claimed nine wickets in the series.

Opting to field, skipper MS Dhoni’s ploy to hand Ashwin the new ball paid off after off-spinner struck twice in the first over to unsettle Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan opener Niroshan Dickwella became the first victim of Ashwin after the southpaw was beaten by tossed up delivery and fine glove work by Dhoni behind the wickets did the rest.



Click here for more…