Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. There was a brief interruption due to rain after toss, which delayed the start of play. However, once play began it was all India. Jasprit Bumrah got the Men in Blue off the perfect start as Kusal Perera (0) nicked a length ball that was angled across him in the first over.
Siraj then picked up four wickets in the fourth over of the innings, somehow missing out on a hat-trick. While there was some brilliant bowling from Siraj, Sri Lanka’s batsmen also helped his cause with some poor strokes.
Pathum Nissanka (2) went at a wide delivery and slashed the ball towards backward point, when Ravindra Jadeja took a fine catch. Sadeera Samarawickrama (0) attempted to flick one across the line without getting his eye in and paid the price for the same as he was caught in front of the stumps.
Charith Asalanka fell for a golden duck. He played a nothing stroke, chipping a full delivery into the hands of cover. Dhananjaya de Silva (4) managed to keep out the hat-trick ball, but was dismissed off the very next delivery. He threw his bat at a wide delivery and only managed to nick the delivery to the keeper.
Dhananjaya de Silva’s dismissal left Sri Lanka in dire straits. They were 12/5, which became 12/6 when Siraj knocked over a clueless Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka (0). The wicket was Siraj’s fifth of the innings and came in just the sixth over of Sri Lanka’s innings. The Indian pacer had a sixth wicket when he cleaned up Kusal Mendis (17) as well. The Lankan batted wanted to drive an incoming delivery, but the ball ended up crashing into the stumps.
After Siraj’s special spell, all-rounder Hardik Pandya helped himself to three wickets, giving away only three runs in 2.2 overs. He ended Dunith Wellalage’s stay for 8 with a well-directed short ball. Pramod Madushan (1) and Matheesha Pathirana (0) perished to consecutive deliveries in the 16th over. The former edged one to slip, while the latter guided a delivery to point.
After Sri Lanka registered the lowest total in the Asia Cup, India romped home to victory in just 6.1 overs as openers Shubman Gill (27 not out off 19) and Ishan Kishan (23 not out off 18) featured in an unbroken 51-run stand.
--By A Cricket Correspondent