Siraj storm wipes out Sri Lanka batting order as Team India lift Asia Cup title | Cricket

Moments after the coin was tossed in the Asia Cup final, a brief spell of drizzle delayed the proceedings in Colombo. But once the match commenced after rain, storm unfolded – not from the skies, but by the cricketing fury of Mohammed Siraj. With an astonishing performance, Siraj tore through the Sri Lankan batting order, leaving the hosts in tatters at the R Premadasa Stadium; his figures of 6/21 in a mere seven overs were nothing short of sensational as Sri Lanka were bowled out for merely 50 in 15.2 overs in the all-important title clash. It didn’t help the Sri Lankan morale that Indian captain Rohit Sharma didn’t even open the innings, sending Ishan Kishan with Shubman Gill instead. The result? One of the easiest 10-wicket victories one will witness.

India's Mohammed Siraj (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis during the Asia Cup 2023 final(AFP)
India’s Mohammed Siraj (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis during the Asia Cup 2023 final(AFP)

It was, in fact, Jasprit Bumrah, who took the opening breakthrough in the very first over of the Sri Lankan innings. The star Indian pacer found significant movement under the overcast weather, and found a thick outside edge off Kusal Perera off the opener’s only second delivery of the game. Over the next half-an-hour, the Sri Lankan supporters were left baffled as Siraj began to deliver blows – one after the other.

The right-arm pacer became the first Indian to take four wickets in an over in ODIs, the over being fourth of the innings. His devastating onslaught saw Sri Lankan batters departing on deliveries 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, and 3.6; first, it was Nissanka whose endeavor to place the ball around Ravindra Jadeja at point went awry, leading to a spectacular tumbling catch by the fielder.

Sadeera Samarawickrama encountered trouble against a delivery that saw slight movement after landing on a length. The umpire swiftly upheld Siraj’s leg-before-wicket appeal without hesitation, and the batter’s review further confirmed umpire’s call. In the very next ball, Charith Asalanka, a left-handed batsman, attempted a shot with minimal footwork against a fuller delivery from Siraj. Unfortunately for him, the uppish shot ended up in the hands of Ishan Kishan at the covers.

Dhananjaya De Silva managed to avoid a hat-trick but could only last for one more delivery. His attempt to push the ball away from his body resulted in an easy catch by KL Rahul behind the stumps. Siraj took a five-wicket haul in his next over, equalling Chaminda Vaas to become quickest to reach the milestone in ODIs (2.4 overs).

Hardik Pandya (3/3) picked the remaining wickets of the innings as Ishan (23*) and Gill (27*) had little difficulty in chasing the paltry target.

The win rounded an impressive Asia Cup outing for India, during which the side registered a mammoth 228-run victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in Super 4, before defeating Sri Lanka in a dramatic game by 41 runs. The side did lose narrowly to Bangladesh, albeit in absence of their five key players including Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj, among others.

India will now return to action on October 22 when they take on Australia in a three-match home ODI series right before the World Cup, also scheduled at home.


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