Washington Sundar charges on as India U-19 beat Sri Lanka U-19 to win yet another tri-series title
The Indian Under-19 team continued their rich vein of form, as they beat hosts Sri Lanka by 5 wickets, to register yet another series win, in Colombo on Monday. This was India’s second consecutive tri-series win in two months, after their victory in Kolkata, last month.
Hosts Sri Lanka Under-19 team had earlier won the toss in the morning, and chose to bat first. But their batting never really took off as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Vishad Randika briefly provided some resistance in the middle order, scoring 58, which also turned out to be the highest score of their innings.
Indian pacer Khaleel Ahmed continued to impress, as he had done throughout the tournament, by picking up 3 crucial wickets, in the middle. Another emerging bowler, Avesh Khan, provided him with good support, and managed to snarl 2 wickets, to derail the Lankan innings.
The hosts were eventually bowled out for a mere 158, in 47.2 overs. Chasing the rather modest total, the Indian colts got off to a good start, before they lost a couple of wickets in the middle. Opener Washington Sundar top scored for the visitors with 56, with his opening partner Rishabh Pant contributing 35.
Sundar, who was in great form in the last tri-series triumph as well, finished this tournament 208 runs in 4 matches, also picking up 3 wickets with his bowling. In the final, Sundar hit his third half-century in 4 matches. He finished the tournament, also involving Sri Lanka and England’s junior teams, as the highest scorer with 208 runs, 50 runs ahead of the rest of the pack.
India who were cruising at 136/2, at one stage were quickly reduced to 155/5, before Ricky Bhui safely guided the team home, with more than 16 overs to spare. Lankan bowler Damitha Mendis looked to turn the game on its head with 3 quick wickets, but in the end, India held their nerve to achieve yet another famous win.
By account of the win in the final, the Indian colts remarkably remained unbeaten throughout the tournament, and played their best possible cricket throughout the series. Their coach Rahul Dravid has definitely played a big hand in India’s victory.
The Under-19 team has been in tremendous form off late, beating South Africa in the final of the Quadrangular Series in Visakhapatnam, in October, followed by their tri-series win against Bangladesh and Afghanistan last month, in Kolkata. Now, they have managed to beat Sri Lanka and England, to lift another Tri-nation Cup.
Brief Scores of the Final:
India Under-19s 159 for 5 (Sundar 56, Damitha Silva 3-18) beat Sri Lanka Under-19s 158 (Randika 58, Khaleel Ahmed 3-29) by five wickets.