Ravichandran Ashwin was at his menacing best against Sri Lanka in the third T20 in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, which helped India defeat the visitors by nine wickets to clinch three-match series 2-1.
The spinner was able to extract huge turn from the pitch in Visakhapatnam as he ran through the Lankan batting line up, picking up the first four wickets, which paved the way for an impressive win.
Capatin MS Dhoni also agreed that his bowlers, primarily Ashwin, played an important role in helping the team emerge triumphant on Sunday. However Dhoni should also be given credit for opting to bowl first after winning the toss, which had even surprised some experts.
Though Ashwin was the standout bowler for India, other bowlers also provided a solid start and took wickets at regular intervals to trouble the Lankan batsmen. Suresh Raina also managed to take two wickets.
"I feel it was a very good game, especially we opted to bowl first so it was important that we restricted them to a decent total. And I felt the bowlers bowled really well and especially the spinners, Ashwin was the pick but he was well supported by the others," Dhoni said in a post match presentation ceremony.
Ashwin began to dominate proceedings right from the start. The Lankan batsmen were troubled with Aswhin's turn as he picked up two wickets in his first over. The first wicket of Niroshan Dickwella was a brilliant one where the left-hander came down the track and was beaten by some huge turn, leading to an easy stumping by Dhoni.
That was just the start for Ashwin, who also dismissed skipper Dinesh Chandimaal and Asela Gunaratne and the scorecard read 20 for four.
"I hope this lasts forever (his good bowling performance). The ball is coming out pretty well. On all the three games I had a good time with the ball. I thought I would get a five-for today. The wicket had a lot of dampness in it. I have a couple of variation in my hand when using the new ball. I have a good arm ball and the carom ball. I want to keep the batsmen guessing and if I pick a wicket or two in the bargain, I become a completely different bowler in the first six overs," Ashwin said.
With such start by Ashwin, India were able to bundle out Sri Lanka for just 82 runs. Ashwin was adjudged the man of the match as well as the series. He finished the series with nine wickets.
The India batting line up have been in an impeccable form of late and they did not look in any sort of problem as they managed to reach the target in the 14th over. Shikhar Dhawan was the highest run-scorer for India with 46 n.o. while Ajinkya Rahane also scored 22 n.o to help India come up with a back-to-back series win. They had defeated Australia of late as well.
Such victories prove India are in good shape to fight any top team in the world in the upcoming Asia Cup and World T20.