The sub-continental rivalry between India and Sri Lanka was alive when the two teams faced off at Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1993. That touring Indian team had Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Manoj Prabhakar. Sri Lanka had a few young players who would later become household names in cricket. These included the infamous Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya. This was the first ODI of a close three-match series that Sri Lanka won 2-1. In this game, the hosts won the toss and elected to field first.
Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Sidhu gave India a steady start. The opening pair raised 77 runs for the first wicket before off-spinner Ruwan Kalpage bowled Sidhu for 39. Kalpage struck again with the score on 92, removing the young Vinod Kambli for just nine runs. When Prabhakar departed for 39, it seemed as though India lost the impetus provided by the solid start. Azharuddin (53) and Tendulkar sought to bolster the innings with a 42-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Tendulkar (21) was the fourth batsman out, dismissed by Sanath Jayasuriya’s slow left-arm spin. Only Kapil Dev (27) made a significant contribution down the order as India crept to 212/8 off their 50 overs. Bowling for Sri Lanka, off-spinner Ruwan Kalpage took 3/42 and opening bowler Ramanayake took 2/50. The hosts had a straightforward target of 213 runs from 50 overs.
Sri Lanka’s openers also gave them a decent start. Roshan Mahanama and Chandika Hathurusingha posted 46 runs for the first wicket. However, the visitors struck an important double-blow when they removed Mahanama (24) and Gurusinha (0) with the score on 46; Sri Lanka was 46/2. Following that setback, a century partnership ensued for the third wicket. Hathurusingha and Aravinda de Silva constructed a 115-run partnership that took the hosts to 161. Aravinda de Silva scored 62 runs in that partnership before he fell to Javagal Srinath.
Hathurusingha compiled 64 runs off 121 balls, but departed with the score on 173 to leave the match in the balance. India swung the match in their favour by reducing the hosts to 196/7. However, Sri Lanka was in sight of victory still. A slew of lower order wickets took Sri Lanka from 208/7 to 211 all out. The Sri Lankans fell short of victory by two runs and failed to bat out the full 50 overs, being bowled out in 49/2 overs. Mohammad Azharuddin’s brisk half-century earned him the player-of-the-match honours.