Visakhapatnam, Feb 14 (IANS) Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (4/8) spearheaded an incisive bowling attack to help India beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets in their third and final T20 International and win the series 2-1 here on Sunday. The series win also enabled India remain No.1 in the T20 rankings.
Chasing a paltry target of 83 runs for a win, India lost just the wicket of right-hander Rohit Sharma (13) in the sixth over when their score was 29. Left-hander Shikhar (46) and Ajinkya Rahane (22) guided India home in 13.5 overs for a win with 37 balls to spare.
Ashwin was named Man of the Match as well as the Man of the Series for his impressive form.
Earlier, Ashwin) ran through Sri Lanka’s top order to help India bowl out Sri lanka for a mere 82 runs at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here.
Ashwin’s supreme display was backed by his team-mates as pacers Ashish Nehra (1/17), Jasprit Bumrah (1/10), left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (1/6) and part-timer Suresh Raina (2/11) all contributed to the Sri Lankan debacle.
Sri Lanka’s batsmen could never get going with Dasun Shanaka (19) being their highest scorer. They were bowled out in the 18th of their allotted 20 overs.
India won the toss and chose to field.
Dhoni’s decision was justified by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who opened the bowling and struck twice in the very first over.
Opener Niroshan Dickwella (1), in for the injured Chamara Kapugedera, was stumped on the third ball and his experienced partner Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) was trapped leg before wicket off the sixth ball to cap off a dream over by Ashwin.
Sri Lanka got rattled by the poor start, and their troubles worsened when skipper Dinesh Chandimal (8) skied an aggressive shot off Ashwin to be caught at mid-off to leave the visitors reeling at 12/3 in the third over.
Ashwin continued to torment the Lankans, picking up his and the team’s fourth wicket shortly thereafter, dismissing debutant Asela Gunaratne (4). Sri Lanka were tottering at 20/4 inside five overs.
Pacer Nehra joined in the act, clean bowling Milinda Siriwardana (4) in the next over.
At 21/5 in the sixth over, Sri lanka were looking down the barrel. They struggled to score freely and kept losing wickets at regular intervals with Seekkuge Prasanna getting run out (9) and Dasun Shanaka (19) bowled by Jadeja.
From there on, it was always going to be difficult for the Islanders to post a decent total, and they ultimately folded for 82.