Ashwin, Jadeja steer India to four-wicket win

Perth: After the quick dismissals of Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and in form Virat Kohli, it seemed as if Sri Lanka would make India sweat for their win in the second one-day international match of the Tri-series at WACA ground in Perth on Wednesday.  But Ravindra Jadeja found an able partner in R Ashwin and the duo added 43 runs for the seventh wicket and help India beat the Lankans by four wickets with 20 balls to spare.

Earlier through some fantastic performance by their bowlers and fielders, India managed to restrict Sri Lanka who opted to bat after winning the toss, for 233. R Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers as the off-spinner, after having some bad outing in Australia, came up good against the Lankans and scalped three of their important wickets, giving away just 32 runs.

Zaheer Khan too was brilliant upfront with two crucial wickets as he put the Lankans on backfoot after dismissing opener Upul Tharanga (4) in his second over and then returned midway to send back Kumar Sangakkara (26) to finish with two for 44 from his allotted 10 overs.

Starting their chase, India lost Virender Sehwag soon. But Sachin Tendulkar looked confident in his strokes and was joined by young Virat Kohli. The duo steadied India’s innings and added 75 runs for the second wicket until Angelo Mathews got the Master Blaster out for 48. Thereafter, except for Virat Kohli, it was an itchy affair from the Indian middle order as India kept on losing the wickets at regular interval and at one point of a time it looked as if India were throwing away the match. But Ravindra Jadeja combined well with R Ashwin and steered India home with four wickets remaining.

Ecstatic about his all-round performance (3 wickets and 30 runs) which fetched him the man-of-the-match award, Ashwin said that he would like to concentrate on his offies but would be more than happy to contribute with his bat down the order. “

It’s always good to contribute in my team’s win. We were pretty desperate for a win in the competition as big as this. After Virat’s dismissal, I just walked in and said it could be my game and just wanted to hold on to the crease. As for my bowling, I was trying to get the height and succeeded in bowling tight after some bad matches earlier. So it feels good. I will like to concentrate on his offies but will be more than happy to contribute with his bat down the order,” said Ashwin.

Happy with his team’s performance, the Indian skipper said that it was always good to finish as a winning captain. “But then I always smile whether I lose or win as I treat it as a sport,” Dhoni said.

Praising Ashwin and Jadeja, Dhoi said, “It had bee tough for Ashwin in the last few games but but he bowled well and batted well today. As for jadeja we believe in him and he has been proving his worth. After the last match, we wanted to improve in few areas and we practiced hard on that. We still have to improve in certain areas and will try to work on that as well,” said the winning captain.

Meanwhile, Mahela Jayawardene said that Sri Lanka were 25-30 runs short. “260-270 could have been a winning score. We kept on losing wickets and didn’t have the momentum going. India played better cricket today,” said the Sri lankan captain.