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Asia cup: Fast and Furious

Pacer Siraj shines as ruthless India rout Sri Lanka to win 8th Asia Cup title

Asia cup: Fast and Furious

Mohammed Siraj and Virat Kohli celebrate a dismissal during the Asia Cup final in Colombo on Sunday. PTI

COLOMBO, September 17

India lifted the Asia Cup after routing defending champions Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the final with Mohammed Siraj claiming a career-best 6/21, including four wickets in one over, here today.

Electing to bat, Sri Lanka were bundled out for a paltry 50 in 15.2 overs with five batters getting ducks in their sorry-looking scorecard with Siraj the wrecker-in-chief.

Siraj’s fiery display of pace bowling was best illustrated in his second over when the right-arm quick dismissed Pathum Nissanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva. Hardik Pandya bagged three wickets while Jasprit Bumrah claimed one as Sri Lanka registered their second-lowest total in ODIs, lasting only 92 balls. India needed 6.1 overs to achieve the target for a timely boost before their home World Cup beginning next month.

“It’s like a dream,” Siraj, who became only the fourth bowler to take four wickets in an over in ODIs, said. “I got four early wickets last time I played Sri Lanka (earlier this year) but unfortunately I could not register a five-wicket haul. I realised you get whatever is in your destiny. I just tried to bowl my line and length, and wickets kept coming. The ball did not swing much in the early matches here but today it swung a lot. My effort was to draw the batters forward and make them play the ball,” he added.

Bumrah removed Kusal Perera in the first over to trigger a collapse and the Sri Lanka batters looked helpless as Siraj breathed fire with the new ball.

Only Kusal Mendis (17) and Dushan Hemanta, who made 13 not out, managed double digits for the home side.

India skipper Rohit Sharma held himself back and sent out Ishan Kishan to open the innings with Shubman Gill, opting for a left-right opening stand.

The openers scored freely to ensure there was no drama and Kishan, who made 23 not out, scored the winning run of the summit clash, which lasted only 21.3 overs. Gill, the tournament’s leading scorer, remained unbeaten on 27.

Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood bemoaned his team’s “below-par” performance with the bat.

“The way we got dismissed is very disappointing. I think there’s a lot of reflection to be done in the dressing room,” he said. “I thought Siraj was superb ... the Indian bowlers made our life difficult but, at the same time, I think we made our own life difficult as well.”

India host Australia in a three-match ODI series later this match and the teams will clash again on October 8 in their World Cup opener in Chennai.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka: 50 all out in 15.2 overs (Siraj 6/21, Pandya 3/3); India: 51/0 in 6.1 overs (Gill 27*, Kishan 23*). — Reuters

101It the lowest match aggregate involving India and Sri Lanka in ODIs

129 It is the third-shortest ODI in terms of deliveries bowled. The top-2 are Nepal-United States (104 balls) and Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe (120)

4Mohammed Siraj became only the fourth bowler to take four wickets in an over in ODIs

Injuries making life tough for Dravid

India coach Rahul Dravid today hinted that injuries to the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel could cost his team going into the ODI World Cup. Iyer could only play the first two games of the Asia Cup due to a back spasm and this was after a six-month injury lay-off. Left-arm spinner Axar was ruled out of the Asia Cup final due to a quadriceps strain. Both the players are in India’s World Cup squad. “All teams are in a similar position, injuries so close to the World Cup could really cost you. We just need to keep our fingers crossed, trust our processes. We are in a tricky situation where some guys need to be rested, while some guys need some cricket. It is a tricky balance to achieve,” said Dravid.

#Sri Lanka

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