Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan and Shikhar Dhawan starred with the bat after a combined bowling effort as India hammered a hapless Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the first ODI in Colombo on Sunday. India’s bowlers restricted Sri Lanka to 262 for 9 in 50 overs, and then the batsmen chased it down in just 36.4 overs. Dhawan was anchor and unbeaten on 86 while Kishan (59 off 42) and Shaw (43 off 24) played aggressive knocks. Suryakumar Yadav then had some fun with 31* off 20.
India didn’t take much time to get their chase going. Prithvi Shaw carried forward his excellent form with some cracking strokeplay making 43 off just 24 balls with nine boundaries to give India the early momentum.
It included three back to back boundaries off Isuru Udana in the fourth over; Shaw was not slogging, but merely timing the ball to perfection with shots full of intent. Shaw was perhaps disturbed by a bouncer from Dushmatha Chameera that hit his helmet in the fifth over. The very next ball he faced, he holed out to long on. Sri Lanka’s change of pace worked, as they got on spinner Dhananjaya de Silva to stop the aggressive Shaw.
Shaw’s dismissal had little impact on the scoring rate as Ishan Kishan made things clear, smashing his first ball in his ODI career for a six. He continued the charge, taking the bowling on. He was also lucky a couple of times as aerial shots evaded fielders. Chameera also dropped him when on 32 to dent Sri Lanka’s hopes.
Kishan raced past a 33-ball 50, becoming only the second Indian to score half-centuries on ODI and T20I debuts. Soon after that, he nicked Lakshan Sandakan behind to fall for 59.
At the other end, Shikhar Dhawan was going about calmly. He brought up his 33rd ODI half-century, off 61 balls, playing the anchor’s role to perfection.
Manish Pandey made 26 off 40 before falling. Suryakumar Yadav had a good hit in his debut game to seal the deal for India with his captain.
Earlier, Kuldeep Yadav was steady and Yuzvendra Chahal decent before Chamika Karunaratane’s late blitz powered Sri Lanka to 262 for 9.
Kuldeep (2/48 in 9 overs) and Chahal (2/52 in 10 overs) didn’t exactly run through the Sri Lankan batting line-up, but bowled enough wicket-taking deliveries to choke the run-flow.
And then Krunal Pandya’s (1/26 in 10 overs) nagging accuracy made run-scoring an arduous task in the middle-overs before Karunaratne (43 no off 35 balls) played a cameo to take the home team past 250 with two huge sixes off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s (0/63 in 9 overs) bowling.
The Indian pacers also bowled a lot of slower deliveries at the back end as Deepak Chahar (2/37 in 7 overs) got a couple. Hardik Pandya (1/33 in 5 overs) was among the wickets and bowled a few overs across two spells. Hardik though never looked like bowling any effort deliveries and, instead, tried to hit the hard lengths.
The first game of the series, which could well be a make-or-break for Kuldeep, saw him pick two quick wickets in the 17th over to effect a break in momentum and the home team never really picked up the pace after that.
Between the three spinners, they bowled 98 dot balls which formed as many as 16.2 quiet overs. Add the pacers’ cumulative dot balls, and the plight of the unheralded Sri Lankans was compounded on a slow turner, as more than 25 overs of the stipulated 50 went without scoring.
Most of them got a start but didn’t have the wherewithal to convert the 20’s and 30’s into a big score.
Kuldeep varied his pace well and the one that got left-handed opener Minod Bhanuka (27 off 44 balls) was flighted outside the off-stump, enticing the batsman to go for a drive. The length was on the fuller side and it turned enough to take the edge, and Prithvi Shaw did the rest at first slip.
He was a trifle lucky before that as Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24 off 22 balls), who was giving the charge, mistimed a pull shot when he sighted a sort ball before losing balance. The aerial ball was well judged by skipper Shikhar Dhawan, who ran backwards from his mid-on position to take a tumbling catch.
Chahal removed opener Avishka Fernando (32 off 35 balls), who looked the best Lankan batsman on view with a lovely flicked six off Chahar. The Haryana man bowled a proper leg break and Avishka went for an inside-out shot, which Manish Pandey at extra cover took to end a 49-run stand.
Chahal, once again, broke another 49-run stand when rival sipper Dasun Shanaka (39) was accounted for in the second last delivery of his spell.