Seamers help India lift Asia Cup after 15 years
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v India
Player:A Nehra, P Kumar, Z Khan
Event:Asia Cup 2010

DateLine: 24th June 2010


MS Dhoni would mark Sri Lanka as his favourite destination as he has won four out of four series in Lanka. The last time these two sides met in Asia Cup final in 2008 a certain Ajantha Mendis decimated the Indian batting line-up but today it was India's turn to return the compliment. The Indian pacers were all over the Lankan batsmen as they left the hosts reeling at 51 for 5 to pretty much close out the contest.


India after a gap of 15 years and four Asia Cups finally lofted the prestigious trophy.


Dhoni without any second thought elected to bat first as batting under lights is not easy. The openers Gambhir and Karthik set off briskly as they lived dangerously. Gambhir was dropped once on 7 and then on 11 of consecutive balls, The southpaw failed to take full advantage of those let-offs as he was run-out going for the non-existent third run. Karthik meanwhile motored on as he picked on Mahroof for special treatment. After a memorable previous encounter with India today Mahroof was a complete failure. He leaked runs and to make the matters worse was the worst fielder on the view in the Lankan set-up today.


Though there no major contributions, the Indian batsmen made small but vital contributions as India marched towards a healthy score. Karthik got his fourth ODI fifty while Dhoni and Rohit Sharma made 38 and 41 respectively.


Though literally little big-hitting occured in the final overs some sensible running between the wickets by Sharma, Raina and Jadeja pushed the Indian score to 268 for the loss of 6 wickets in their 50 overs.


It was a challenging score rather than an imposing one and all eyes were on the Lankan openers. The way the openers approached the target would determine the course of the match and India for the first time in the tournament found the cutting edge in their bowling unit. Praveen Kumar swung the ball around like a yo-yo while Zaheer seamed it around. Dilshan went for an ill-advised pull shot and was caught at mid-on for a duck and that was the body blow from which Sri Lanka never really recovered.


Zaheer was all over Sangakkara and Tharanga as he literally messed up their mind with some brilliant bowling. The confused state of mind of Tharanga was exposed as he shouldered his arms to a straight delivery from Zaheer Khan. The stage was set for Nehra whose fitness was the subject of discussion before the match.


The left-armer tormented the Lankan batsmen with pace, bounce, swing and seam. It was a treat to see Nehra is full flow as he troubled the Lankan batsmen and then picked up three wickets to break the back-bone of the Lankans. First he removed Jayawardene with a one that took off to take the shoulder of the bat via to Dhoni's gloves, got Angelo Mathews to edge behind of an out-swinger that went awry and then with pressure building up Sangakkara played a limp pull shot to Zaheer at mid-on. At 51 for 5 the contest was pretty much over. CK Kapugedera and Kandamby then battled to give the side some respectability before a run-out terminated their association. Kapugedera marched to a satisfying half-century but it was not enough to stop India from romping to a 81 run win.