India needed to win both the games in Ranchi and Vizag after their meltdown in Pune to the swinging ball on a green pitch. And win they did, in style, securing a come from behind 2-1 victory over the depleted Sri Lankan side in the three match T20I series. This series win was very important because it gives them the bragging rights ahead of the bigger and tougher multi nation events like the Asia Cup T20I's and the World T20 where they might again run into the Lankan side.
There were several architects who made this series win possible for India. Let us look at the Fantastico 3 who made the greatest impact on the Lankans with their skills.
India did not have a big score to defend at Pune and the pitch was green, aiding the pace bowlers, but that did not stop Ashwin from spinning a web around the Lankan batsmen. He claimed 3-0-13-2 to scare the Lankan's and made sure that they did not stroll to a victory. At Ranchi, on a dry pitch which offered him assistance, Dhoni called on him to open the bowling. He responded in style picking up the dangerous Dilshan in his first over and returned later to claim Shanaka and Perera to return with astounding figures of 4-0-14-3.
But it was at Vizag that he showed his full repertoire after Dhoni decided to bowl first on a batting pitch. Ashwin claimed Dilshan and Dickwella in his first over while snaffling their captain, Chandimal in his second and Gunaratne in his third over to kill the Lankan innings. His figures of 4-1-8-4 were the best ever in T20I's by an Indian bowler. He had a Fantastico series and kept the Lankan batsmen on a tight leash, they failed to read and decipher his variations completely.
Ashwin is a bowler who is at the peak of his powers, able to land the ball in the right areas with flight and guile using the multitude of variations to fool the opposition batsmen. He bowled 11 overs in total taking 9 wickets at a strike rate of only 7 while giving away only 35 runs in the bargain. He was the most impact player for India who played the biggest part in the 2-1 victory.
Shikhar Dhawan is probably the weakest link in this Indian batting line, who had a modest T20I record prior to this series but he was the highest run getter in this series and sealed his spot at the top of the order with his big hitting which helped India seize the initiative in both their victories. He blasted a 25 ball 51 at Ranchi to give them a rousing start while Rohit was struggling at the other end while making an unbeaten 46 in 46 balls while chasing the small total in the last T20I.
He made 103 runs at an average of 53 with a strike rate of 126 runs per hundred balls on pitches which were not easy to bat on this playing a very important role in India's series victory.
He had made a dream comeback against Australia last month and had impressed with his swing and wicket taking ability with the new ball playing an important role in India's whitewash over the Australian team. But question marks remained if he would be able to bowl well on the flat Indian pitches and he responded in style by picking up 5 wickets in the three games.
He swung the new ball and provided India with an early breakthrough in every game thus pegging the Lankans back at the very start of their innings.