Nehra Bowls India To Asia Cup Success Over Sri Lanka
India 268-6 (Karthik 66, Sharma 41) beat
Sri Lanka 187 (Kapugedera 55no, Nehra 4-40) by 81 runs
Asia Cup Final, Dambulla
Left-arm quick bowler Ashish Nehra returned four for 40 as India were crowned Asia Cup champions for the fifth time after they beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs in the 2010 final in Dambulla.
India produced a solid batting effort to post 268 for six and set defending champions Sri Lanka a challenging target but they were out of the contest when they were reduced to 51 for five and their top order barely contributed.
Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews both registered two-ball ducks, the former caught by Harbhajan Singh off the bowling of Praveen Kumar and the latter caught by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Nehra.
Nehra also had Kumar Sangakkara caught by Zaheer Khan for 17, Mahela Jayawardene caught by Dhoni for 11 and later Lasith Malinga caught by Ravi Jadeja for seven as the match hurried to its conclusion.
Fellow left-armer Khan (2-36) also bowled Upul Tharanga as India's three-pronged pace attack effectively won the game.
Sri Lanka fought hard, Chamara Kapugedera hitting an unbeaten 55 in 88 balls and Thilina Kandamby 31 to at least ensure they weren't humiliated but losing five wickets inside 16 overs was far too big a blow with more than 200 runs still to chase.
Left-arm spinner Ravi Jadeja also chipped in with a brace of wickets as Sri Lanka were eventually dismissed in 44.4 overs.
Earlier, although opener Dinesh Karthik was the only man to reach a half-century, no dismissed Indian batsman failed to reach double figures and partnerships grew throughout the innings.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Karthik added 38 with Gautam Gambhir for the first wicket before Gambhir was run out by Tharanga and Nuwan Kulasekara.
Karthik and Virat Kohli (28) then put on 62 for the second wicket during the first two Power Plays and their stand was broken when Kohli was caught by Sangakkara off Malinga.
Karthik was the next to fall when he became leg-spinner Kandamby's first international wicket - caught by Jayawardene having made 66 in 84 balls with nine fours. Kandamby struck again to remove Dhoni for 38 when he was caught by Kulasekara.
Rohit Sharma (41) and Suresh Raina (29) then forged a partnership worth 40 for the fifth wicket to keep India on course for a competitive total and despite Kulasekara and Malinga striking respectively to dismiss them,they looked set to post a score closer to 300 before they stalled towards the end of their innings, Sharma facing 52 balls for his runs and Jadeja making an unbeaten 25 in 27.
Kandamby returned figures of two for 37 and Malinga two for 57 as seven bowlers were used by the home team who will nevertheless have their work cut out chasing under lights.
Both sides had won the Asia Cup four times ahead of the match and Sri Lanka were bidding for their third consecutive title success and third successive final win over India.
© Cricket World 2010