Dunith Wellalage has achieved a remarkable milestone as the youngest Sri Lankan spinner to secure a five-wicket haul in One Day Internationals (ODIs) in Sri Lankan cricket history during the Asia Cup Super Four clash against India on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner displayed exceptional skills as he single-handedly dismantled India’s formidable batting lineup, claiming the prized scalps of top-order batsmen such as Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Hardik Pandya.
Wellalage’s exceptional spin magic allowed him to achieve this historic feat at the age of 20 years and 246 days, surpassing the previous record held by former right-arm pacer Charitha Buddhika, who achieved a five-wicket haul at the age of 21 years and 65 days against Zimbabwe in Sharjah in 2001. The third spot on this distinguished list is held by right-arm fast bowler Thisara Perera, who secured a five-wicket haul against India in Dambulla in 2010 at the age of 21 years and 141 days.
In the thrilling encounter against India, Wellalage made a significant impact by providing Sri Lanka with crucial breakthroughs at pivotal moments in the match. He dismissed Shubman Gill for 19 with a bewildering spin delivery that rattled the off-stump. His next victim was none other than Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who fell for just 3 runs, caught by Dasun Shanaka at mid-wicket while attempting a boundary.
Wellalage continued his onslaught by claiming the prized wicket of Rohit Sharma, who had contributed 53 runs to India’s total. Rohit was left stunned by a deceptive delivery that dislodged his stumps. Although Ishan Kishan managed to score a boundary off Wellalage’s delivery, the spinner remained relentless in his pursuit of wickets.
The young spinner’s impressive spell culminated with the dismissal of KL Rahul, who was caught at the outer half of his bat, resulting in a comfortable catch for Wellalage. He completed his five-wicket haul by removing all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the 39th over, further solidifying his status as a rising star in Sri Lankan cricket.
Dunith Wellalage’s historic achievement is a testament to his prodigious talent and potential, and it is certain to be celebrated by cricket enthusiasts in Sri Lanka and around the world. His remarkable performance against India adds an exciting chapter to his promising career and underscores his importance to the Sri Lankan cricket team.