Seam bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar led a disciplined bowling performance as India hammered Sri Lanka by 38 runs in the opening T20 international after a Covid scare at the stadium on Sunday.

Chasing 165 for victory, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 126 in 18.3 overs with Kumar returning figures of 4/22 in Colombo. India lead the three-match series 1-0.

Earlier skipper Shikhar Dhawan (46) and Suryakumar Yadav (50) guided India to 164/5 in 20 overs after being put into bat first.

“I thought we were 10-15 runs short but we felt it was still a good total,” said Dhawan.

“Surya is a great player and we enjoy watching him bat. He was taking pressure off me as well. Sri Lanka were playing well but we knew our spinners will get some turn.”

Spinners Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, debutant Varun Chakravarthy and quick bowler Hardik Pandya took one wicket each.

A ground staffer at the R Premadasa Stadium tested positive for Covid-19 following a rapid antigen test, Sri Lanka Cricket said, before the hosts won the toss.

As a precaution, reporters and photographers were not allowed inside the 35,000 capacity ground where the white-ball series is being played.

Spectators were already barred from attending since the start of the three-match one-day series which India won 2-1.

Kumar struck with opener Avishka Fernando’s key wicket for 26 before the pace spearhead returned to wipe off the tail.

Pace partner Deepak Chahar took two wickets in one over including debutant Charith Asalanka for 44 to derail Sri Lanka’s chase.

But it was Dhawan and Yadav who set up the win with their 62-run third-wicket stand that helped India to a challenging total.

Dhawan, a left-hand opener who put on 51 for the second wicket with Sanju Samson (27), missed out on his fifty after being caught in the deep.

Yadav raised his second T20 fifty in his fourth match but got out next ball to leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.

Hasaranga and pace bowler Dushmantha Chameera, who got Prithvi Shaw out first ball of the innings, claimed two wickets each.

“I thought our bowlers did an amazing job on this wicket,” said Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka. “I hope boys come out and deliver for us.”

The second T20 is on Tuesday at the same venue.