In the 10th match of the 13-match-long tournament, the Indian cricket team emerged victorious against the host Sri Lanka. In a close tussle, India fought hard to set an average score of 213 because of a heroic half-century from the Indian Captain, and the hosts despite some good knocks from Dhananjaya de Silva and Dunith Wellalage, were unable to defeat India.
India won the toss and batted first, India was on to a flying start. Rohit Sharma along with Shubman started attacking the bowlers from the very start. The captain looked in an excellent touch completing his half-century of 44 deliveries. At the score of 80, India lost its first wicket in the form of young Shubhman Gill. The previous match’s hero, Virat Kohli came out to bat with all eyes on him, he was expected to score big. Virat started his innings in traditional Kohli fashion, looking to find gaps and depending on running rather than scoring boundaries.
The weakness of Indian batting against the left-arm bowlers was yet again exposed, as the left-arm spinner Wellalage trapped the Indian batters in his trap. Wellalage dismissed Kohli as the ball gripped on the surface, Kohli unable to flick gave a simple catch to the mid-wicket fielder. Wellalge then trapped KL, Rohit and Pandya. Other Indian batsmen fell prey to Charith Aslanka, who dismissed four batsmen, and Maheesh Theekshana with a single one. With the scorecard of the first innings, it was sure that the pitch had something to offer for the spinners as 38 out of the 50 overs were bowled by the spinners dismissing all 10 batsmen.
As the second innings started, the Lankan batting tumbled as the Indian pace battery dismissed the top-order for just 25 runs. Bumrah dismissed Pathum Nissanka off a 141 km/h beauty and deceived Kusal Mendis with a slower ball, who chipped the ball straight to Surya Kumar Yadav at covers. Unlike Bumrah, Siraj was more economical, he dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne in a proper test match fashion as Dimuth tried to cut the ball and gave a catch to Shubhman at first slip. The magical spell from the opening duo of the Indian bowling line-up brought Samarawickrama and Asalanka to the crease.
The two new batters started their work to reconstruct the innings. As the track was a spin-friendly one, Rohit introduced the spin battery of the Indian bowling unit. Jadeja created an early chance as he almost dismissed Asalanka in his third over. While the two set batsmen were looking to attack the bowlers, the spinners were able to grip and spin the ball resulting in back-to-back wickets for the young Chinaman, Kuldeep Yadav. Joining the party, Jadeja got the captain’s wicket as Rohit took a screamer at slip.
Sri Lanka was 99/6 and in desperate need of a partnership, which Wellalage and de Silva tried to build. The heroes for Sri Lanka with the ball were not countering the Indian spinners with the bat. Both the batsmen went all out against every loose ball, scoring a 63-run partnership before de Silva gave an easy catch to Gill at mid-on. Wellalage showed some intent of fighting back and winning the game for Sri Lanka but he was unsuccessful. The remaining wickets were a result of some excellent catching from the fielders and some mindful bowling from the talented china-man. India won the match by 41 runs as they comfortably dismissed the hosts for 172.
The match was a contest of tug of war as both the teams looked equally balanced and eager to perform, but in the end, it was the seven-time Asia Cup champions, who emerged victorious. There were many stand-out performances in the match like Rohit Sharma’s fifty on a turning track, Kuldeep’s four-wicket haul, and Wellalage 42 not out and 5/40. Although India won the match, it was an all-round performance from Wellalage that won the Man of the Match. This win over the defending champions won India a spot in the finals of the tournament.