Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned figures of 4/22 as India registered a 38-run win in the opening T20I in Colombo.
Sri Lanka, who opted to field first, kept India to 164/5 – a total that proved more than enough in the end for the visitors to come out on top.
Four players debuted in the opening T20I across the two teams – Prithvi Shaw and Varun Chakravarthy for India and Charith Asalanka and Chamika Karunaratne for Sri Lanka.
It was a tough debut for Shaw, who was undone by a full out-swinging delivery from Dushmantha Chameera (2/24), departing for a golden duck on the first ball of the match.
Shikhar Dhawan then paired with Sanju Samson and the duo stabilised the Indian innings. Sri Lanka almost had Samson in the fifth over when Avishka Fernando caught him at short extra cover but replays showed that the fielder had grassed the catch. Capitalising on his reprieve, Samson hit a six and a four in the next over signifying his intent, but he failed to convert his start into something big. Wanindu Hasaranga (2/28) was brought into the attack and straightaway gave the hosts their second breakthrough, trapping Samson (27) in front.
The arrival of Suryakumar Yadav at the crease only amplified India's scoring rate and they brought up the fifty-run stand for the third-wicket in no time. The Sri Lanka captain then brought Karunaratne (1/34) back into the attack and the bowler got his maiden T20I wicket in the form of Dhawan, who fell four runs short of a half-century. Suryakumar followed suit in the next over, falling to Hasaranga soon after he had brought up his fifty with a six.
Ishan Kishan (20*), Hardik Pandya (10) added a few useful runs but tight bowling by the Lankans kept the visitors down to a modest 164/5.
In reply, Sri Lanka started steadily but soon lost Minod Bhanuka for 10 in the third over to Krunal Pandya (1/16). Before the next pair could rebuild, Dhananjaya de Silva (9) was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal (1/19) after the Powerplay. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/22) then forced Avishka Fernando (26) to hack across the line, giving a simple catch to Samson at deep square leg. At 50/3, things looked bleak for the hosts but Asalanka fought back.
While Ashen Bandara dropped anchor at one end, Asalanka unleashed his shots, trying to up the scoring rate. However, things started unravelling for the hosts at the death.
Deepak Chahar (2/24) came back into the attack to bowl the 16th over and crippled SRi Lanka instantly with a double-strike. Asalanka (44) fell first, holing out to deep mid-wicket. Two balls later, Hasaranga was bowled for a duck. Karunaratne (3) could do no damage either as he was bowled by Bhuvneshwar in the very next over.
The last three wickets were quickly taken by the Indians, with Bhuvneshwar accounting for two more, abruptly ending the Sri Lankan innings on 126, with nine balls to spare.
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