In the next over, he pounced on Virat Kohli, who started with a superb cover drive off Naseem Shah that put Shubman Gill in a tight spot. Letting go of Afridi’s first delivery, he tried to open his face for the next one, which was angled away from him, but hit the inside of the off stump. In a first spell lasting five wickets, he was notable for his consistency. No pitch to the right-handed batsmen was short, wide or overpowered.
Afridi wasn’t done yet. As India began to show signs of aiming for 300, he came back to dash those hopes by removing Hardik Pandya, who got his team back into the game with 87 off 90 deliveries and began to pull ahead. Afridi outsmarted Hardik with a slow ball that he scooped straight into the hands of a defender. Five balls later, he got Ravindra Jadeja to duck out of form, which led to the ball coming off the ground, and the Indian innings ended at 266 for 48.5 overs.
Although there was a heavy downpour in Kandy, there was no sign of rain in this small town until midday when India and Pakistan will face each other in an ODI for the first time since the 2019 World Cup on Saturday. The ominous signs came as dark clouds that had descended over Kandy in the morning headed towards Pallekele. According to locals, the terrain is such that when it rains in Kandy, the town of Pallekele, below, usually receives no rainfall.