Colombo: India captain Rohit Sharma on Tuesday said it was good to play a high-pressure game against Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup as it “challenged a lot of aspects of our game” ahead of the World Cup.
Opting to bat, India managed a below-par 213 but the bowlers produced a splendid collective effort to carry their team to a 41-run win, and into the final of the continental tournament.
Rohit Sharma’s fifty (53 off 48 balls) was the cornerstone of India’s total as Lankan spinners Dunith Wellalage (5/40) and Charith Asalanka (4/18) bamboozled them.
But India, guided by Kuldeep Yadav’s 4 for 43, bowled out Sri Lanka for 172.
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India, who entered the final with four points, will either face Sri Lanka or Pakistan in the summit clash on Sunday.
“It was a good game. For us also to play a game like that under pressure. Challenged a lot of aspects of our game,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“We definitely want to play on pitches like these to see what we can achieve.”
Rohit was full of praise for Hardik Pandya (1/14) and Kuldeep Yadav’s (4/43) efforts with the ball.
“He’s (Hardik) worked hard on his bowling over the last couple of years, and it’s pleasing to see how he bowled that spell. Not an easy target to defend. Pitch got slightly better towards the end so we had to hold our nerve and bowl consistently,” the skipper said.
“(Kuldeep) again for the past year or so bowling really well. He’s worked hard on his rhythm and you can see the results in the last 15 ODIs he’s played. He gives us a lot of options. So going forward it’s a pretty good sign.”
Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka was surprised by the turn the wicket provided but praised young Wellalage for his all-round show.
Wellalage first picked up his maiden five-wicket haul and then remained unbeaten on 42 off 46 balls even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end.
“We didn’t expect this kind of a wicket, but after the first 10 overs we came into the match brilliantly with the spinners.
“The luxury of the two genuine batters bowling is great, they’ve done well in the nets but it was great how they performed. After the last game with Bangladesh I sensed he (Wellalage) would do something special,” Shanaka said.