Before Saturday, the last time Shreyas Iyer featured in a cricket match was in the Border-Gavaskar Test series in March. He then incurred a lower back injury, underwent a surgery as he missed the IPL 2023 season, WTC final and India’s tour of West Indies before racing against time to make the squad for the Asia Cup. And then on Saturday, Iyer made his debut in an international match against Pakistan where he resumed his role as a No. 4 batter amid all the discussion on the conundrum for the Indian team heading into the ODI World Cup at home and got off to an impressive start with a brace of fours off Haris Rauf. However, the India return was cut short with the Pakistan fast bowler ending his knock early, adding to India’s woes in the Asia Cup opener and captain Rohit Sharma’s expression summed it up. (India vs Pakistan Live Score, Asia Cup)
It happened in the 10th over of the innings after India opted to bat first under the cloudy Kandy sky. Rauf delivered a short ball and Iyer pulled it straight to Fakhar Zaman at mid-wicket. The fielder showed stunning reflexes in reverse cupping the ball as India went three down for just 48 runs.
Iyer was in sheer disappointment as he stood there for a few seconds before making his way back to the pavilion, but Rohit’s expression summed up India’s dressing room scene. He looked in absolutely helpless as he watched Iyer lose his wicket, leaving India in deep trouble against their arch nemesis in the Asia Cup opener.
India had made a promising start after opting to bat first as the opening pair of Rohit and Shubman Gill looked to negate the left-arm threat in Shaheen Afrdi. In the first 26 balls they faced, India scored 15 runs with Rohit scoring 11 while Gill was yet to get off the mark.
Post the first rain break, Shaheen changed his bowling length a bit and looked to extract more from the pitch than get that movement in the air and that very thing did the magic for Pakistan. Three deliveries post the break and Shaheen beat Rohit’s defence with a nip-backer. And an over later, he dismissed Kohli, who chopped the outside-off delivery onto the stumps as India went two down in quick time for just 27 runs.