Dunith Wellalage emerged as the star of the Asia Cup Super Fours match, wreaking havoc on India’s top-order batsmen with a spectacular five-wicket haul. The young Sri Lankan left-arm spinner expressed his elation at dismissing the formidable duo of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, two of the cricketing world’s giants.
Wellalage’s remarkable performance saw him claim five wickets while conceding just 40 runs, a crucial factor in Sri Lanka’s successful endeavor to restrict India to a modest total of 213. In addition to Kohli and Rohit, he also sent Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, and KL Rahul back to the pavilion.
Speaking at the post-match media conference, the 20-year-old spinner shared his admiration for Virat Kohli, labeling him as the number one batsman. He said, “For me, Virat Kohli is the No. 1 batsman. I am very happy to have got those two (Kohli and Rohit) big wickets. I trust my basics, and trust myself.”
Wellalage emphasized his strategy of maintaining a wicket-to-wicket line against the experienced Indian batsmen, who had established a strong start. His precision bore fruit as Sri Lanka claimed three wickets in as many overs, applying pressure on the Indian team. Wellalage noted that the pitch offered some turn, and by hitting the right areas consistently, he could unsettle the batsmen.
Despite his stellar performance, Sri Lanka fell short in the chase, managing only 172 runs, resulting in a 41-run defeat to India. Wellalage also showcased his batting prowess, contributing 42 runs off 46 balls and forming a crucial 63-run partnership with Dhananjaya de Silva, rekindling hopes of a win.
Reflecting on his team’s upcoming match against Pakistan, a virtual knockout clash, Wellalage expressed optimism about making it to the finals. Sri Lanka has secured three victories out of four matches, and their larger goal is to reach the title clash against India on September 17.
Wellalage attributed his progress to his time spent around the national team, stating, “If I’ve improved at all, it’s because I’ve been around the national team for more than a year, and have learned from them.”