WATCH: Axar Patel Takes A Stunning Flying Catch To Dismiss Karunaratne
India sealed the ODI series against Sri Lanka, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with one game to go, with a 4-wicket victory on Thursday in Kolkata.
Returning to the ODI XI, Kuldeep Yadav struck thrice with the ball to send the Eden Gardens buzzing. His three-wicket haul, with that of Siraj too, plus Umran Malik’s brace and Axar Patel’s solitary scalp helped India bowl Sri Lanka out for 215.
What looked like a straightforward chase and victory for India at the halfway stage was made tricky after India lost their top 4 for 86 runs.
With plenty of time in hand, and an under-par target at sight, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya took their time to drag the chase with 75 (119) before Pandya (36) and Axar (21) were dismissed. However, KL Rahul, sending a message to all his detractors, scored a gritty 64* off 103 balls with 6 fours, taking India over the finish line.
WATCH: Flying Axar Patel grabs a stunner
All-rounder Axar Patel was surprisingly fielding at the important point position, where generally the best fielder of the team is placed. However, with a stunning, flying mid-air take, Patel helped India dismiss Chamika Karunaratne, who had slashed at a short and widish delivery from speedster Umran Malik.
The ball was flying to the boundary, but it met Axar’s two hands. Axar timed his dive to perfection, and importantly, kept hold on the ball even after thudding on the ground.
Watch this terrific catch here:
After the game, skipper Rohit Sharma was effusive in praise for Man of the Match Kuldeep Yadav.
"For him (Kuldeep Yadav) to come back and play the game he played today, it was fantastic. Literally got us back in the game. They were batting run-a-ball and Kuldeep, as we've seen quite often, comes and gets the wicket. He's quite confident as a bowler right now and it definitely augurs well with the team," Rohit said.