COLOMBO: Virat Kohli believes taking wickets are the way to prosper in limited-overs cricket and wrist spinners provide the best option to keep striking. (India vs Sri Lanka: one-off T20 highlights)
The Indian skipper would have been convinced about his outlook after leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav together delivered the goods in the one-off Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka at the Premadasa Stadium. (India vs Sri Lanka: one-off T20 scorecard)
If patience and flight were the virtues for spinners of old, and in Test cricket even now, it’s temperament and the ability to second-guess batsmen has been the key to T20 success.
Yuzvendra Chahal, 27, went for 14 runs in his first over as he was targetted early on, but the diminutive Haryana bowler showed why Kohli, also his Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper, trusts him by making a strong comeback. He eventually finished with 3/43. Kuldeep was miserly, going for just 2/20 in his four overs that made up for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah going for runs.
Chahal got Angelo Mathews stumped for seven runs by MS Dhoni, who had the stumps off in a flash. Thisara Perera then hit him for a six only to beat him with subtle turn as he could only play onto the stumps.
But the 22-year-old Kuldeep Yadav was the one who controlled Sri Lanka’s scoring. He gave away just 11 runs in his first three overs in an outstanding effort, his variations repeatedly beating the batsmen.
In fact, Ashan Priyanjan, who made 40 not out, had no clue initially against Kuldeep.
Dilshan Munaweera was beaten by Kuldeep’s googly, swishing air with the bat flying off his hands as he was being bowled. Seekuge Prasanna too failed to judge the pace of the delivery, hitting straight to Virat Kohli at deep midwicket.
In the last ODI at the venue on Sunday, the two spinners together gave away only 76 runs in 20 overs, taking a wicket each. On Wednesday, left-arm spinner Axar Patel too made a solid contribution with 0/30 in his four overs.
The spin trio has shown on this tour they are ready to challenge for regular spots in the ODI team as India build for the 2019 World Cup. And their rapid progress means serious competition for R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.