Sri Lanka’s star spinner Dunith Wellalage continued on his fierce form during the side’s final Super 4 match against Pakistan on Thursday, dismissing captain Babar Azam with an absolute beauty in Colombo. Wellalage had taken a five-wicket haul in the previous match for Sri Lanka against India, where he dismissed some of the side’s leading batters Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. He ended with figures of 5/40 in ten overs, and on Thursday, continued to trouble the Pakistan batters with his sharp turns under overcast conditions.
During his fourth over of the innings against Pakistan, Wellalage took his opening wicket of the innings as he dismissed the big fish Babar, as the skipper was visibly stunned with the delivery that turned sharply away from him. Pitching it full near the off-stump line, Wellalage succeeded in drawing Babar to committ for a straight-batted defensive shot. However, the ball turned sharply away from the right-hander and Babar, who had already stepped outside the crease for the push, was completely beaten as wicketkeeper Kusal Perera stumped him out.
Babar looked puzzled at the sudden turn, and wasn’t surprised when the big screen showed him out.
The Super 4 clash between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is a virtual semi-final, with the winner meeting India in the title clash for Asia Cup 2023. India were the first to qualify for the final with consecutive wins over both sides earlier this week.
Pakistan opted to bat
Pakistan captain Babar Azam had earlier won the coin toss and opted to bat in the Asia Cup Super 4 encounter against Sri Lanka. The Pakistan side underwent several changes, with Imam ul Haq, Faheem Ashraf, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, and Salman Ali Agha being replaced by Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Haris, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Wasim, and Zaman Khan.
Sri Lanka also made alterations to their playing XI, with Kusal Perera and Pramod Madushan earning spots in the lineup. Due to inclement weather, the toss was delayed, and the match has been shortened to a 45-over per-side contest.