Between them, the three spinners went on to bowl 24 overs and conceded only five boundaries between them while picking up two wickets. Driving and lofting were tricky propositions on this pitch, and Thirimanne and Mathews did not – and could not, given the situation Sri Lanka were in – take too many risks. But they put their experience to use, and swept, nurdled and check-drove their team towards a platform to launch a late assault from.

Both had brought up their fifties when Bhuvneshwar returned to bowl the 39th over with Sri Lanka 181 for 3. He struck immediately, going around the wicket to cramp Thirimanne and forcing him to play on while trying to guide one to third man. Then Kuldeep, returning to the attack in the 42nd over, took out Mathews with the first ball of his new spell, sending down a wrong’un that caught the leading edge of an attempted lap-sweep.

At the crease were two batsmen with 5 and 0 against their names, and Sri Lanka had it all to do, all over again. The inexperience of their lower order came under the spotlight, and they duly crumbled. Wanindu Hasaranga fell to a self-inflicted run-out, Akila Dananjaya stepped out and missed the line of a topspinner, leaving MS Dhoni to complete his 100th ODI stumping, and both Milinda Siriwardana and Malinda Pushpakumara fell to full-tosses from the fast bowlers. Then Lasith Malinga holed out to Bhuvneshwar, and Sri Lanka had folded two balls short of lasting 50 overs.