India successfully defended 213 against Sri Lanka in a low-scoring thriller in Colombo to confirm their presence in the 2023 Asia Cup final.

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India’s opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill raced off to a flier, tucking in against Sri Lanka’s seam attack before the home side’s spinners halted India’s momentum. 80-0 after 11 overs soon became 91-3 in the 16th with 20-year-old left-arm spinner Dunith Wellalage claiming the wickets of Gill, Virat Kohli and Rohit in consecutive overs. KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan steadied the ship before Wellalage and part-time spinner Charith Asalanka took the remaining seven wickets to bowl India out for 213 in the final over of the innings.

Asalanka finished with figures of 4-18 from nine overs after taking just one wicket in his previous 78 international appearances across formats, while Wellalage claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in conditions that not only assisted the Sri Lanka spinners, but also provided occasional inconsistency in bounce. Between them, Sri Lanka’s spinners took 10-127 from 38.1 overs (an economy rate of 3.33 runs per over) while their spinners conceded 85 runs off 11 overs.

Rohit resisted the temptation to start with spin and was duly rewarded as Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj took three new-ball wickets between them. As the shine wore off, the India captain brought his spinners into the fray and they soon had Sri Lanka 99-6. Dhananjaya de Silva and Wellalage rallied, putting on 63 for the seventh wicket before Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav cleaned up the tail. Kuldeep finished with figures of 4-43 while Wellalage ended an outstanding game unbeaten on 42.

India’s victory means that they have now qualified for Sunday’s Asia Cup final. Today’s result means that Bangladesh can no longer qualify for the final. India’s opponents on Sunday will either be Pakistan or Sri Lanka. Both sides are currently on two points and they face each other on Thursday in a virtual knockout game in Colombo. Should the game be washed out – which is more than just a possibility – then Sri Lanka will qualify by virtue of their superior Net Run Rate.