Had it not been for Rahul Sharma's split webbing, R Ashwin would, perhaps, have served drinks on Wednesday. Rahul's unavailability meant Ashwin, despite a mediocre tour so far, got another opportunity to prove his credentials.
And, the tall Chennai cricketer made the most of it, helping his team open its account with a scratchy four-wicket win over Sri Lanka and also clinch the Man-of-the-Match award in the CB Series match at the WACA.
Making it count
Bowling a tight spell, Ashwin played a vital role in India restricting the islanders to 233 for eight.
Had it not been for Ashwin and Jadeja's sensible batting, India would still have been waiting for their maiden victory in the tri-series. Once Virat Kohli, who was struggling with cramps, ran himself out attempting an ambitious single, Ashwin and Jadeja showed there was no devil in the WACA track. The ball was just coming on to the bat a bit late.
But, Ashwin needed every bit of luck when the scores were tied. In a bid to finish off the match in a hurry, he tried to clear Lasith Malinga at mid-off but mistimed the shot. However, luck favoured Ashwin as Malinga got distracted by Lahiru Thirimanne's movement in the covers and didn't attempt the catch.
Pace proves a point
Earlier, a three-pronged pace attack led by Zaheer Khan made sure the Lankan batsmen did not put up a big partnership. Skipper MS Dhoni pulled off a stunner to dismiss key batsman Kumar Sangakkara.
Just when Sangakkara was looking to build a partnership with Tillakaratne Dilshan, the stylish southpaw edged a Zaheer delivery to the wicketkeeper. The India skipper dived brilliantly to his left to pouch what he later referred to as a 'fluke'.
Ashwin then bowled superbly in powerplays and Jadeja kept the scoring rate in check to help India restrict Lanka.