Pace bowler Mohamed Siraj returned figures of 6-21 to lead India’s rout of Sri Lanka by 10 wickets as they clinched their eighth Asia Cup title yesterday.
Siraj got four wickets in one over to help skittle Sri Lanka out for 50, a total the Indian openers Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill surpassed in 6.1 overs for an impressive victory ahead of next month’s ODI World Cup at home. Sri Lanka’s miserably low total in the 50-over contest left a nearly packed house disappointed after they witnessed just 116 minutes of play.
“It is below par. The way we got dismissed is very disappointing, think there’s a lot of reflection to be done in the dressing,” Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood said after the crushing loss.
“I think today we’ve come up against a very high class bowling attack, thought Siraj was superb.”
The hosts elected to bat first following a delayed start due to rain and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah struck first with the wicket of Kusal Perera, caught behind for a duck in the first over.
Siraj soon took over as he made the ball swing and seam in overcast conditions to easily surpass his previous ODI best of 4-32.
He got Pathum Nissanka for two and then struck on successive balls to send back Sadeera Samarawickrama (0) and Charith Asalanka (0), but a hat-trick was averted.
Dhananjaya de Silva hit a boundary but Siraj had him caught behind with the next ball, much to the delight of the Indian fans.
Siraj got his fifth with the wicket of Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka, equalling an ODI record for the fastest five-wicket haul from his first 16 balls of the match. Former Sri Lanka quick Chaminda Vaas achieved the feat in 2003.
Kusal Mendis hit three boundaries before becoming Siraj’s sixth wicket, although Sri Lanka avoided the lowest-ever ODI total of 35 by Zimbabwe.
After Virat Kohli’s overthrow went for a boundary, and six more runs to the total, Sri Lanka pushed past their lowest ODI total of 43 scored against South Africa in 2012.
Hardik Pandya took three wickets to wrap up the innings in just 90 minutes.
Mendis’ 17 and an unbeaten 13 by Dushan Hemantha were the only double-digit scores in an innings that featured five ducks.
Gill, a centurion in the previous match, began with a boundary in the opening over on his way to an unbeaten 27 and fellow opener Kishan (23) soon joined the party.
The left-handed Kishan smashed fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana for two successive boundaries, and three more in a row from Gill gave India victory in the tournament’s shortest final.
India dropped just one match in the tournament after they lost an inconsequential Super Four contest against Bangladesh.
Sri Lanka, who won the previous edition of the Asia Cup played in the T20 format, came in as underdogs and snuck into the Super Fours with a dramatic win over Afghanistan but went down without a fight in their 11th final.
Asian title and fast bowlers boost India’s confidence: Rohit“It gives us a lot of confidence to come here and win a tournament like this,” captain Rohit Sharma told reporters after the title win came in just 116 minutes of play. “At various stages of the tournament we were challenged in different parts of our game and we stood up to those challenges against various conditions, various bowling types.” He said: “We can take a lot of positives from the tournament, not just for one or two players but for the entire squad. They did their job.”
“When I see bowlers like this bowl like this, I get a lot of satisfaction,” said Rohit.
“I think fast bowling is something captains take a lot of pride in. In fact, all the five bowlers have a lot of skill-set and variation. When you get all this as a captain you feel confident. Nature of this pitch here is challenging and unexpected as well. Siraj has to be mentioned here because when the pitch is so dry, to get the ball to move around like that is a special skill set.”
The batsmen shone for India after Virat Kohli and the returning KL Rahul hit centuries against Pakistan in the Super Fours and Rohit praised the all-round effort.
“Guys can stand up under pressure and perform the job for the team and same goes for the bowlers as well,” Rohit said of his team’s all-round showing.
“Our fielding was outstanding in this series. Slip catches against pacers. We will have off days on the field is fine as long as you back it up with a solid performance the next day.”
India will play Australia at home in three ODI matches before heading into the World Cup and their opening match against the Aussies on October 8.
BRIEF SCORESIndia 51 for 0 (Gill 27*, Kishan 23*) beat Sri Lanka 50 (Siraj 6-21, Pandya 3-3) by 10 wickets
India’s players celebrate with the trophy after winning the Asia Cup 2023 final in Colombo yesterday. (AFP)