Ashwin wreaks havoc as India clinch T20 series 2-1 against Sri Lanka


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Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin weaved his magic with a career-best four-wicket haul as India trounced Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the deciding third and final Twenty20 International to clinch the three-match series 2-1 in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

Ashwin scalped two wickets in the very first over and then retruend with dream figures of 4-1-8-4 as the hosts bundled out Sri Lanka 82, their lowest ever score in T20 cricket.

Before this, Sri Lanka’s lowest total was 87 against Australia in 2010 at Bridgetown.

Ashwin was simply unplayable for the Sri Lankans on a pitch, which offered help to the spinners and took four wickets in his magical three-over opening spell.

Besides Ashwin, Suresh Raina also shone with the ball by scalping two batsmen and giving away just six runs in his two overs.

The series win also helped India retain its numero uno position in the ICC T20 rankings.

Such was the plight of the visitors that only two batsmen — Dasun Shanaka (19) and Thisara Perera (12) — managed to touch the double-digit mark at ACA-VDCA stadium.

The total was too small for India, who overhauled the target in 13.5 overs after losing Rohit Sharma (13) early in the innings. The Indians were in no hurry as they waited for bad balls to hit boundaries and relied on singles and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan (46 off 46) and Ajinkya Rahane (22 off 24) took the side to the finishing line with an unbeaten 55 run partnership for the second wicket.

There were not many boundaries but Dhawan finished off the match with a six and four off debutant Asela Gunaratne.

It was second successive series win for India after whitewashing Australia 3-0 in their own backyard. India’s next assignment is Asia Cup in Bangladesh where they play the hosts on February 24 in the tournament-opener in Mirpur.

Earlier opting to field, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni handed out the new ball to Ashwin and he responded with two wickets in the first over of the match.

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