Sri Lanka vs India | Shikhar Dhawan ton sinks hapless hosts in Dambulla

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Sri Lanka vs India | Shikhar Dhawan ton sinks hapless hosts in Dambulla

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SportsCafe Desk


Riding on a swashbuckling 132* from Shikhar Dhawan and an equally aggressive 82* from Virat Kohli India crushed Sri Lanka by 9 wickets in the first ODI at Dambulla. Earlier, another batting collapse from Sri Lanka after a good start meant that they were dismissed for a paltry total of 216.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 216/10 (Niroshan Dickwella 64, Kusal Mendis 36; Axar Patel 3/34, Jasprit Bumrah 2/22) lost to India 220/1 (Shikhar Dhawan 132*, Virat Kohli 82*) by 9 wickets.

Winning his fourth consecutive toss of the tour, Virat Kohli put Sri Lanka into bat on a hot day at in Dambulla. While Virat Kohli announced that Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur had missed the cut in the playing XI for the first ODI. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, handed a debut to 25-year-old pacer, Vishwa Fernando.

Dickwella and Mendis puts hosts in commanding position

Sri Lanka got off to a good start as Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka came out with with a positive approach and took on the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya in the initial stages of the game. Gunathilaka took a special liking to Pandya’s bowling in the eighth over smashing 11 runs which included two boundaries as the duo managed to take Sri Lanka to 55 for no loss at the end of 10 overs. Given that both the openers looked comfortable with pace on the ball, Kohli decided to change things up and brought Yuzvendra Chahal into the attack. The move paid dividends as the leg spinner dismissed Gunathilaka for a well-made 35 in the 14th over. The wicket brought Kusal Mendis to the crease who made his intentions clear from the onset as he and Dickwella ensured that the home side maintained a good run rate of more than a run a ball. Together, the duo quickly consolidated the Sri Lankan innings as they managed to find the boundaries seemingly at will, smashing 10 and 14 runs off the 18th and 20th overs respectively. Dickwella brought up his 5th ODI fifty with a single of Axar Patel in the 22nd over as Sri Lanka built another formidable partnership. Sensing the need for another wicket, Kohli once again turned to his spinners and it was Kedar Jadhav who provided the breakthrough this time as he trapped Dickwella plumb in front in the 25th over. However, despite the loss, the home side were in a strong position at 141 for 2 at the halfway stage of their innings.

Sri Lanka suffer yet another batting collapse

At this point, Kohli understood that the Lankans were having trouble facing the Indian spinners and decided to persist with them for the remainder of the innings. The tactic paid off as Axar Patel cleaned up Mendis for 36 in the 28th over. The wicket slowed down the Sri Lankan innings as Matthews and Tharanga failed to find the gaps to keep the scoreboard ticking. The lack of runs, particularly boundaries, resulted in Tharanga trying to attempt a big shot but finding only the palms of Shikhar Dhawan at long on. Kapugedera rejoined his captain in the pavilion in the next over before de Silva and Perera threw away their wickets in back to back overs. Matthews was trying to hold the innings, that had slumped from 139/1 to 178/7 in a matter of just over 10 overs, together but he, too, was struggling to make any sort of a notable contribution to the Sri Lankan score. Sandakan was the next to fall prey to Axar Patel and Matthews decided he had enough as he targeted Chahal who saw the ball sail over the deep mid wicket boundary. Chahal, on the other hand, bamboozled Malinga, who came down the track, by getting him stumped by MS Dhoni. And Fernando was the last one to depart as he was cleaned up by Bumrah, bringing the curtains down on the Sri Lankan innings with the scoreboard at just 216.

Dhawan blitz too hot to handle for Lanka 

Chasing a paltry 217 to win India got off to a good as Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma managed to find the boundaries consistently to take India to 21 for no loss after four overs. In the fifth over, however, the partnership was broken when Rohit Sharma was run out by an alert throw from Chamara Kapugedera. Kohli joined Dhawan at the crease at ensured that Sri Lanka don’t have a chance of causing any further damage as they continued their aggressive  approach. In the eighth over of the Indian innings, Kohli put debutant Vishwa Fernando to the sword as he smashed him for 13 runs which included 3 boundaries and two overs later Dhawan did the exact same thing to Thisara Perera. Though India were chasing a meager total the Indian skipper and Dhawan were in no mood to take their foot off the accelerator as they continued on their rampant ways. Dhawan then decided to take the aerial route as he smashed maximums off Sanadkan and Malinga in the 13th and 14th overs respectively. With India firmly in the driving seat at this point, Kohli and Dhawan looked to finish the game early as they continued to score a boundary an over, even after the fielding restrictions were lifted. In the 19th over of the Indian innings, Dhawan once took Sanadkan to the cleaners as he smashed 3 boundaries in an over which cost Sri Lanka 11 runs. Three overs later, Dhawan brought up the fastest ODI ton by an Indian against Sri Lanka in the island nation with a boundary as he smashed Hasaranga for 13 runs in the over. And in the very next over, Kohli brought up a run a ball fifty as he flicked Fernando for a single through midwicket. By the midway point of their innings, India had managed to score 181 for the loss of a solitary wicket. The next 23 balls yielded 39 runs as India took a 1-0 lead in the five match series.

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