Ash-wins it for India

By Kersi Meher-Homji


An unconvincing win but a victory all the same! Thanks to Ravichandran Ashwin’s all-round excellence and Virat Kohli’s never-say-die batting India defeated Sri Lanka last night (8 February) in Perth by four wickets with 20 balls to spare.

On paper it looks an easy win but actually it was not. It was a struggle all the way and when India, chasing a victory target of 234, lost Kohli (77 runs) to become 6 for 181, it looked any body’s game.

Fortunately, the two Ravis — Ashwin 30 not out and Jadeja not out 24 — added 53 precious unbeaten runs to enable India to chalk their first victory in the tri-nation one-day international (ODI) series.

After going winless in the four-Test series and in the first of the two Twenty20s, MS Dhoni’s men have won two of their last three matches, defeating Australia by eight wickets in the second T20 match in Melbourne and in their second ODI match, against Sri Lanka in Perth last night.

As at 9 February, Australia narrowly leads this series with five points. India is behind with four points and Sri Lankans are pointless so far.

The Perth match was a thriller as both teams were desperate to win. India bowled and fielded superbly to restrict Sri Lanka to 8 for 233, spinner Ashwin taking 3 for 32 off 10 overs and quickie Zaheer Khan 2-44.

Behind every successful bowler there is a quick-thinking wicket-keeper and Dhoni affected two magnificent stumpings, took a smart catch and ran out Thirimanne, thanks to a brilliant throw by Rohit Sharma.

India opened their batting with Virender Sehwag (who was caught for 10 attempting a rash stroke, again!) and Sachin Tendulkar who was bowled for 48, missing his 100th international century, again.

Kohli then took over and hit 77 brilliant runs, enriched with 8 fours and a six, despite an injury and severe cramps. But when he was run out, it looked grim for India. We expected the all-too-familiar collapse.

But Man of the Match Ashwin and Jadeja, the $2 million dollar man for IPL-5, took India to victory.

There was a bit of comedy at the end when three Sri Lankan fielders were in a position to catch Ashwin but each left it to the other and the lucky batsman had a huge winning smile on his face.

Hope this victory revitalises the Indian team who had a terrible time down under till the end of January.

I don’t know what you think, readers, but the parochial attitude of Channel 9 disappoints me. Matches in the series not involving Australia (namely India vs. Sri Lanka) will not be televised on Channel 9 but on GEM. I wonder whether everyone in Australia gets GEM channel on their television.

Speak up, Swamy Army!

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