India’s 8th or 7th for Sri Lanka?
India will have an eye on extending their record haul while Sri Lanka would want to get level with the Indians when they square off in the final of the Asia Cup in Colombo today.
The match is scheduled to kick off at the R Premadasa Stadium at 3:30pm Bangladesh time.
India, the record eight-time champions, had an unflustered run to the final of the competition before a reality check against Bangladesh in a largely inconsequential final Super Four match against Bangladesh on Friday.
The six-run defeat, where India rested five of their key players against a Bangladesh team who themselves had rested a number of their regular starters, will provide food for thought to the team management regarding their bench strength. Apart from Shubman Gill, who scored a blazing century, Indian batting struggled against Bangladesh's pace and spin.
The injury to all-rounder Axar Patel would definitely add to their worries as the men in blue look to win the continental title for the first time since 2018 and get a boost for next month's World Cup.
Talking about injuries, no other team has been so beset by injuries to key players like Sri Lanka. The defending champions started the tournament without their four frontline bowlers, including the talismanic Hasaranga de Silva. Now on the eve of the final, they have lost their premier spinner in Maheesh Theekshana, but cricket followers would know that the Lankans are at their best in the face of adversary.
Not many people would have bet for Sri Lanka getting into the final, but as has often happened in the past, the islanders seem to have punched above their weight this time too, winning the key moments in crunch situations.
This being the sixth match in nine days, the pitch might be on the slower side and offering turn to the spinners. However, overhead conditions might have a bigger say on the proceedings than the surface, with rain predicted for both Sunday and the reserve day, Monday, the second reserve day of the tournament after the one for the Super Four encounter between India and Pakistan.
While many would have liked to see India and Pakistan playing in the final of the Asia Cup for the first time, the India versus Sri Lanka contest should throw in an exciting contest too, especially given Sri Lanka's track record in this year's competition.