In a stunning display at the R Premadasa Stadium, Sri Lanka encountered an extraordinary batting collapse, effectively dashing any hopes of securing their seventh Asia Cup title within the initial hour of play.
The Lions’ woes began right in the opening over when Jasprit Bumrah produced a magnificent delivery, setting the tone for what followed. However, it was his compatriot, Mohammed Siraj, who stole the spotlight with a mesmerizing opening spell while wielding the new ball.
Siraj’s destructive rampage commenced on the first ball of his second over when Pathum Nissanka edged an outswinger to point, where Ravindra Jadeja executed a breathtaking diving catch. Following this, he bowled an outswinger to Sadeera Samarawickrama, which, on the next delivery, abruptly jagged back off the seam, sending him packing leg before wicket.
Charith Asalanka was the next victim, departing for a golden duck as he nervously chipped the ball to Ishan Kishan stationed at catching cover. Dhananjaya de Silva, tasked with facing the hat-trick ball, managed to flick it through mid-on for a boundary, evoking laughter from Virat Kohli in the slips, who watched as Siraj pursued the ball until it reached the boundary ropes.
Nevertheless, Dhananjaya de Silva’s stay was short-lived as he became Siraj’s fourth scalp of the over, attempting to drive an outgoing delivery, resulting in a delicate tickle into the wicket-keeper’s gloves. Siraj secured his five-wicket haul in his very next over, delivering arguably his finest ball of the spell on the fourth delivery.
He pitched it back of a length on the stumps before inducing just enough movement to evade Dasun Shanaka’s outside edge and send the off-stump cartwheeling. Following this remarkable performance by Siraj, Twitter was abuzz with praises from fans and pundits alike, who took to social media to celebrate the Indian speedster’s exceptional display.