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UPDATE – 3.26 pm IST (9.56 am GMT) – We have a start time, folks! The final of the 2023 Asia Cup will commence at 3.40 pm IST (10.10 am GMT) with no overs lost. The Indian players are already out there, going through the fielding drills.
UPDATE – 3.13 pm IST (9.43 am GMT) – As we had hoped, it was indeed a passing shower but the majority of the covers are still on. Live visuals show the match officials having a discussion the one of the members of the ground staff. Huge cheers from the crowd as the rest of the covers begin to come off now. More promising signs as there will be an inspection at 3.30 pm IST (10.00 am GMT) with a possible start at 3.45 pm IST (10.15 am GMT). We will keep you posted.
UPDATE – 2.54 pm IST (9.24 am GMT) – Uh oh! Not the best of starts to the final, as a light drizzle has forced the ground staff to bring the covers on. It had gotten overcast after the toss, and we had the ground staff lurking near the covers in anticipation of the rain. More covers are being brought on to cover the entire ground but let’s hope that this is just a passing shower. Stay tuned for further updates.
India’s Head coach, Rahul Dravid, is in for a chat. He says that he is worried about the weather but says that the pitch looks great. Expects a good game of cricket today. Mentions that he was impressed by the effort against Sri Lanka and to clinch a win owing to an all-round performance. He adds that whichever team plays good cricket is at the advantage and says that Sri Lanka has the home conditions as well and hopes his players play well under pressure. He reckons that injuries can cost you the win in big tournaments especially. Also says that there is a long schedule after this tournament with the Australia series coming up.
India’s skipper Rohit Sharma says that he would have batted first as well as it looks like a dry pitch. He adds that they will be confident for the chase and it is a good opportunity to be aggressive with the ball and try to exploit the conditions. He mentions that last game they came close to the target and on the pitch anything over 230 is a good score. Mentions that their aim will be to restrict the opposition to a low score. He appreciates the crowd for their support towards both teams and says that it is a good ground to play on. He ends by saying that Axar Patel is out due to injury and Washington Sundar is in along with the guys who were left out in their last match.
Dasun Shanaka, the captain of Sri Lanka says that they will bat first. Adds that the surface looks good and there might be some turn in the afternoon as well. On the crowd support, he says that the support has been phenomenal. Mentions that the youngsters have done really well for them and reckons that the current squad is a competitive one and the team is looking forward to the World Cup. Ends by informing that they have just a single change, with Dushan Hemantha coming in for Maheesh Theekshana.
Sri Lanka (Playing XI) – Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis (WK), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (C), Dunith Wellalage, Dushan Hemantha (In for Maheesh Theekshana), Pramod Madushan, Matheesha Pathirana.
India (Playing XI) – Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli (In for Tilak Varma), KL Rahul (WK), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (In for Suryakumar Yadav), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar (In for Axar Patel), Jasprit Bumrah (In for Mohammad Shami), Kuldeep Yadav (In for Shardul Thakur), Mohammed Siraj (In for Prasidh Krishna).
TOSS – Dasun Shanaka calls “heads” and heads it is. Sri Lanka have opted to BAT first.
PITCH REPORT – Sanjay Manjrekar is near the deck. He informs that it is a nice and fresh pitch for the final. Adds that there will be help for the pacers at the start with some turn later on for the spinners. Mentions that it also looks like all the previous pitches. Dominic Cork joins him and says that there are some cracks and it looks like a dry surface. He feels batting first will be helpful.
On the other hand, India did suffer a blip against Bangladesh in the last outing, but they have by far been the most clinical team on display. Coming into the Asia Cup, Rohit Sharma’s men had more questions than answers, but through their performance, they have ticked most boxes. Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma have consistently provided solid starts, while KL Rahul has been impressive on his return from an injury layoff. Kuldeep Yadav has successfully spun a web with his variations, whereas premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah may not have been among the wickets much but has posed a potent threat. The stage is set for what should be a cracker of a final that you wouldn’t want to miss. Stick around, as the toss and team news is not far away.
Before the start of the tournament, not many would have tipped Sri Lanka to make it to the final due to their long injury list. Thanks to different individuals putting their hands up throughout, they are in their second successive final. Their openers haven’t clicked, but it has been more than made up for by Kusal Perera in the top order and the duo of Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka in the middle order. In what has come as a huge blow to them, ace spinner Maheesh Theekshana has been ruled out due to a hamstring strain. In his absence, prodigy Dunith Wellalage will be expected to fill that void. The tournament’s leading wicket-taker, Matheesha Pathirana, has risen to the occasion in his first multi-nation event, which has also augured well for Sri Lanka.
After 12 games between six teams across four venues in two countries, we have arrived at the final showdown. Hello and a warm welcome, folks! It is time for India and Sri Lanka to square off in the grand finale of the 2023 Asia Cup at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Two deserving teams have reached the summit clash, with India on the hunt for their eighth Men’s Asia Cup title, whereas Sri Lanka are in their quest to clinch back-to-back titles.
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