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Ashwin stars as India crush SL to win T20I series

February 14, 2016 22:27 IST

Ravichandran Ashwin

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan. Photograph: BCCI

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin weaved his magic with a career-best four-wicket haul as India thrashed Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the deciding third and final Twenty20 International, to clinch the three-match series 2-1, in Visakhapatnam, on Sunday.

- Scorecard

Ashwin registered dream figures of 4-1-8-4 as the hosts bundled out Sri Lanka for a paltry 82, their lowest ever score in T20 cricket.

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (left) takes off the bails to stump Sri Lanka batsman Niroshan Dickwella off Ravichandran Ashwin's bowling. Photograph: BCCI

India had it easy with the bat as they overhauled the target in just 13.5 overs despite losing Rohit Sharma (13) early in the innings to register their biggest victory in the shortest format in terms of wickets remaining.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan stroked a fluent 46 from as many balls, while Ajinkya Rahane was unbeaten on 22 as India cruised to 84 for one in 13.5 overs. Dhawan finished off the match with a six and four off debutant Asela Gunaratne as India won with 37 balls to spare.

It was second successive T20I series win for India after whitewashing Australia 3-0 in their own backyard.

The series win also helped India retain its No. 1 position in the ICC T20 International rankings.

Earlier, Ashwin bamboozled the Sri Lankan batsmen in a mesmerising opening spell as India bundled out the visitors for a paltry 82 in 18 overs.

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin (left) celebrates with team mate Yuvraj Singh after taking the wicket of Dinesh Chandimal. Photograph: BCCI

Ashwin, who opened the attack for India, took four wickets in a magical three-over opening spell to break the back of the Sri Lankan batting order.

The off-spinner was simply unplayable for the Lankans as he returned with exceptional figures of 4-1-8-4, his career best figures in T20 cricket. This is also the best figures by an Indian bowlers in T20 Internationals.

Suresh Raina also made most of a turning track at the ACA-VDCA stadium claiming two wickets in his two overs.

After opting to field, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni handed the new ball to Ashwin and he responded with two wickets in the first over of the match.

Ashwin had Niroshan Dickwella (1) stumped when the batsman charged down the track but was was completely beaten, leaving the Indian captain to complete an easy stumping in the first over of the innings.

In the last ball of the over, Ashwin trapped Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) and when he retuned for his second over, he had Dinesh Chandimal caught by Hardik Pandya as the rival skipper tried to cut loose but miscued a shot.

Sri Lankan innings was in complete shambles as they lost the first three wickets with only 12 runs on the board.

In his third over, Ashwin got rid of debutant Asela Gunaratne and soon the Lankans were gasping at 21 for five with left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra taking the fifth wicket.

Such was the dominance of the Indian bowlers that only six shots to the fence were hit in the first seven overs. It was only in the eighth over that Sri Lanka found two sixes through Dasun Shanaka (19), who hit two maximums off part-timer Yuvraj Singh.

Shikhar Dhawan

IMAGE: India opener Shikhar Dhawan hits out. Photograph: BCCI

However, Shanaka lost his partner Prasanna in the same over through a run out, which was result of excellent field work by Ravindra Jadeja to leave the visitors tottering on 48 for six.

The wicket was assisting spinners and Dhoni had no hesitation in giving the ball to Jadeja and Raina.

Jadeja sent back Shanaka (19) by bowling him courtesy of an inside edge, which Raina scalped Sachitra Senanayke (8) and Thisara Perera (12) in a space of three balls.

Bumrah ended the Sri Lanka innings by castling Dilhara Fernando (1) with a quick yorker.

Such was the plight of the visitors that only two batsmen -- Dasun Shanaka (19) and Thisara Perera (12) -- managed to cross the double-digit mark.

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